Firefly Aerospace has signed a launch contract with SpaceX. Its purpose is to deliver the Blue Ghost lander to the moon. The Falcon 9 rocket was chosen for this mission. The launch is scheduled for 2023.

Blue Ghost is an in-house development of Firefly. The vehicle is to land in the Sea of Crises on the visible side of the moon. It will carry ten scientific instruments and technological demonstrators with a total weight of 94 kg, provided by NASA under the program CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services), the main purpose of which is to attract commercial firms to the development of the moon. For this, the aerospace administration will pay to Firefly in the amount of 93.3 million dollars.

Blue Ghost will have a large and varied scientific payload, including cameras, instruments to study properties of the regolith and lunar interior, sensors to analyze heat flow, a tool to study the interaction between Earth’s magnetosphere and the solar wind, and a prototype radiation-resistant computer. It will also be used in an experiment to test the possibility of using GPS signals on the lunar surface.

Falcon 9

With a payload of about 150 kg, the Blue Ghost is expected to take on board several additional cargoes from commercial customers in addition to NASA instruments. The apparatus will be designed to operate for one lunar day (14 Earth days).

A total of six contracts under the CLPS program have been awarded by NASA so far. In addition to Firefly, they also received Intuitive Machines and Astrobotic Technology (two contracts each), as well as Masten Space Systems. Interestingly, the launch of five of these six missions will use SpaceX carriers. The only exception is the apparatus Peregrine (Astrobotic Technology), to send which on the moon is planned to use the new rocket Vulcan.

With a payload capacity of about 150 kg, the Blue Ghost is expected to take several additional cargoes from commercial customers in addition to NASA instruments. The apparatus will be designed to operate for one lunar day (14 Earth days).

A total of six contracts under the CLPS program have been awarded by NASA so far. In addition to Firefly, they also received Intuitive Machines and Astrobotic Technology (two contracts each), as well as Masten Space Systems. Interestingly, the SpaceX carriers will be used to launch five of the six missions. The only exception is the vehicle Peregrine (Astrobotic Technology), to send it to the moon is planned to use the new rocket Falcon.

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