Firefly Space Systems' 'First of its Kind' Rocket Engines Join Autodesk Cleantech Partner Program

FIREFLY SPACE SYSTEMS today announced that it has joined the Autodesk® Cleantech Partner Program, which will allow the company to begin designing and advancing the next-generation of cleaner burning rockets.

Firefly's rockets, which will use highly efficient liquefied natural gas (LNG), will not produce any soot like the kind currently common in kerosene and solid rocket engine combustion. Particulates in the upper atmosphere, like soot, are recognized as a major contributor to atmospheric heating.

Firefly is currently building the world's lowest-cost, small satellite delivery system. Its rockets will be the first to utilize LNG which is much more environmentally friendly and efficient than the alternatives. This low cost and abundant non-petroleum fuel produces approximately 33% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional rocket engines.

The Autodesk Cleantech Partner Program supports the work of cleantech innovators by providing qualified companies, such as Firefly, with Digital Prototyping software to help them design, visualize, and simulate their groundbreaking ideas. This lets them test multiple concepts and reduce costly errors, getting to market faster.

"Cleantech companies like Firefly Space Systems are addressing some of the most important challenges facing our world today," said Catherine Doyle, global lead of Autodesk's Cleantech Initiative. "We are proud to support their growth and success through the Autodesk Cleantech Partner Program."

In addition, the liquid oxygen and LNG used in Firefly rockets is incapable of spilling, as it spontaneously evaporates when exposed to ambient conditions. Consequently, Firefly rockets pose no environmental threat from propellant spills, unlike other companies' kerosene fueled vehicles.

Firefly's mission to deploy reusable rockets also reduces the need to build dedicated new rockets for every flight, thereby reducing the amount of materials required as well as manufacturing waste. The airframe of the vehicle will be made entirely of carbon and organic compounds, unlike current vehicles that are constructed from rare and expensive metals.

Firefly's rockets will provide low-cost launch for the small satellite market, which is growing vigorously for the purpose of earth observation. This increase in earth observation capability will be key to understanding how and why climate change occurs. It will also facilitate the production of additional data for analytical atmospheric models, used to better understand future trends in climate change.

"Firefly is performing CAD and mechanical design utilizing Autodesk Product Design Suite. The Suite provides a comprehensive set of tools that will enable Firefly to quickly and collaboratively iterate on our rocket design - and ultimately move into production and spaceflight," added Thomas Markusic, CEO of Firefly. "Autodesk, along with their Platinum Partner reseller KETIV Inc., have been incredibly supportive in getting us up and running quickly."

Contact Phone Email

Firefly Space Systems: Maureen Gannon 415.269.7252 maureen@fireflyspace.com

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.