Smallsat Rideshare Dreams Come True with Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace (Firefly) announced this past summer the Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM), a global competition to host academic and educational payloads as rideshare participants on the inaugural flight of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle.

The company has now announced the payloads that have been selected to fly on Alpha’s maiden flight to support and stimulate STEM on a global basis — there are 26 DREAM payloads representing seven  countries.

There are two categories of payload — nontechnical and technical. Nontechnical payloads include children’s artwork, messages from children in pediatric hospitals and photographs of previous space missions. Technical payloads range from 3U to 27U smallsats supplied by prominent universities and nonprofits from around the globe.

DREAM payloads will be co-manifested with commercial payloads on the first Alpha launch. Firefly plans to share its DREAM payload stories on its social media starting in late November.

Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic said the firm is honored to have received so many outstanding submissions that promote STEM across the globe. From an all girl’s STEM rocket program in Lesothoto and leading edge technology demos from distinguished universities, the DREAM payloads embody Firefly’s ethos of ‘Making Space for Everyone.’

Firefly VP of Mission Assurance, Shea Ferring, added that in 1993 he was on the ASUSat-1 team and was given the opportunity to launch their first satellite on a donated rideshare slot to LEO. That program propelled so many of into the aerospace industry and it is now great to give back with a similar opportunity to multiple university programs. The company looks forward to providing similar opportunities on future missions to support and encourage STEM students that their dreams do come true.

The Nontechnical DREAM payload participants include…

  • Anderson High School Robotics Program
  • Animal Packers
  • AstroGrams
  • Audrey’s Space Dream
  • Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows
  • Brady Nilsson
  • Brian Lunos
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operation Club
  • Izumiya-Hotaru Photographs for Education and Environments
  • Liam Fjellstedt
  • LifeShip
  • Madison West Rocket Club
  • Mission Microgravity
  • Morija Girls Rocket Program
  • NAET ArtFlight
  • Noosphere Art Challenge
  • Pichardo STEM Educational Foundation
  • St. Paul Elementary School
  • Think Beyond

The technical DREAM payload organizations include…

  • Fossa Systems (Non-profit Juvenile Association)
  • Hawaii Science and Technology Museum – 501c3
  • Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Network Innovation and Experimentation (CENETIX)
  • Purdue University
  • Teachers in Space, Inc. – 501c3
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Southern California, Space Engineering Research Center (USC SERC)
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