28 Sep Space: Firefly Space Systems, A Texas Rocket Company

Introduction to Firefly Space Systems

 Firefly Space Systems will generate ~$70 million by 2020 assuming 8 launches for $8 million each after the initial ~$5 million NASA contract. The impact on the number of people is hard to estimate given the diverse range of services small satellites can provide.
Firefly Space Systems will generate ~$70 million by 2020 assuming 8 launches for $8 million each after the initial ~$5 million NASA contract. The impact on the number of people is hard to estimate given the diverse range of services small satellites can provide.
Firefly Space Systems is a new space company based north of Austin, Texas. At least 25 companies have announced plans to build rockets to meet the growing demand for small-satellite launches since 2014, but Firefly Space Systems does not plan to blend into that pack. Thomas Markusic, Firefly Space Systems chief executive, said, "Think of this as the Model T of rockets, a simple widely used vehicle for getting from point to point, or in this case getting to space." “When you are riding as a secondary payload on a large launch vehicle, you sometimes have to wait a couple of years and you are subject to the technical specifications of that launch,” said Amir Blachman, Space Angels Network managing director in Los Angeles. “Whereas if you can pay to get a custom launch for a smaller payload, you can tailor the timing and all the other elements of the mission to your specific needs.” Markusic, a propulsion engineer who worked at NASA, the U.S. Air Force, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin before founding Firefly, plans to build a family of simple expendable rockets offering dedicated rides for small satellites (under 1000 kilograms) to low earth orbit (LEO). Markusic left his job as Virgin Galactic’s vice president for propulsion in December 2013 to found Firefly because he saw a dearth of launch options for the burgeoning small-satellite market. Firefly’s initial launch vehicle, Firefly Alpha, is designed to send 400 kilogram payloads into low Earth orbit or 200 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbit. The cost of a full vehicle to LEO is currently set at $8 million, and includes features that typically cost extra, such as the separation system and a full re-ride guarantee. Customers will not have to insure the launch, because if the first fails the second ride is on Firefly. Satellites will still need insurance for their own performance. Other launch options include delivering a 120-kilogram payload to a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit for $4.95 million, and orbiting 3U CubeSats for about $240,000. In October [2015], NASA announced the award of fixed-price contracts to Firefly, Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab and Virgin Galactic of Long Beach, California, to provide dedicated rides into orbit for the CubeSats NASA transports under its Cubesat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are small cube-shaped satellites typically sized 10 by 10 by 11.35 centimeters and has a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms. NASA plans to pay Firefly $5.5 million, Virgin Galactic $4.7 million and Rocket Lab $6.95 million for launches scheduled to occur by April 2018. PJ King, cofounder and COO of Firefly, said the initial target is to field about four vehicles in the first year. If business goes well, King said the number of launches the first year could be up to seven. Assuming continued success, the goal for year two is to produce about 12 vehicles.
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16 Jun Sustainability: Bye-You Bug

Introduction Note: This post was written by the founders of Yutumi. [caption id="attachment_320" align="alignleft" width="300"]Yutumi bye-you bug products. Yutumi bye-you bug products.[/caption] Sarah Plunkett and Ryan McDonner, owners of Yutumi (You-to-me) have launched a new bug spray that will change your idea of how you apply and think about traditional DEET Free repellents. Many bug sprays seen on the market utilize traditional essential oils such as citronella, lemongrass, geranium, etc. Not only do these essential oils smell like bug spray, they feel like bug spray too. These products tend to leave your skin oily and greasy. BYE-YOU BUG® was formulated to be the exact opposite of what you normally buy and use. It is non-greasy due to the main ingredients being pure vanilla extract (which is alcohol based) as well as soybean oil, citric acid (lemon juice), vegetable glycerin, and one essential oil that forms each unique scent. Therefore, you feel dry after spraying and rubbing it in to your skin. It smells aromatic because it uses vanilla as its base. As a result, our formula is the only formula on the market that allows us to customize scents based on an individuals needs and preferences. The formulation is comprised of food-based ingredients that are great for those who have sensitive skin and are worried about what they put on their body. It is safe to use on pets, kids, and adults. For those looking to enjoy the outdoors without smelling or feeling like they put on bug spray and eliminating toxins from their products and the environment, BYE-YOU BUG® is a great alternative. SPRAY MORE, SWAT LESS, SMELL GOOD!
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