A new rocket will fly from the Space Coast, and be built here, too, state officials are expected to announce Friday morning at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Texas-based Firefly Aerospace, which is developing rockets to launch small satellites, would set up a manufacturing facility in Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park and launch as soon as next year from a pad at Launch Complex 20.

The work would bring about 240 jobs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to make a major announcement today in Cape Canaveral beginning at 10 a.m.

Firefly has already secured a California launch pad and has been targeting a first launch of the two-stage, 95-foot Alpha rocket before the end of this year.

The more powerful Beta rocket, featuring three Alpha core stages strapped together, is in design.

Charging $15 million per launch, the company hopes to fly monthly by 2021, and eventually twice a month.

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Owned by Silicon Valley-based Noosphere Ventures, Firefly Aerospace emerged from the 2017 bankruptcy of Firefly Space Systems, founded in 2014.

The company has at least one contract for up to six launches, and recently was selected by NASA as one of nine companies that could deliver small landers to the moon.

Firefly would be the second small satellite launcher to confirm plans to launch from Florida. Startup Relativity Space recently won preliminary Air Force approval to fly Terran 1 rockets from Launch Complex 16, possibly by late next year.

Another competitor, Rocket Lab, which launches Electron rockets from New Zealand, last year chose Virginia over Florida for its U.S. launch site.

But Firefly, which has said it was also considering options in Virginia and Georgia, is potentially a bigger win for Space Florida because of the additional manufacturing work.

Source: https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2019/02/21/state-set-welcome-new-rocket-manufacturer-cape-canaveral/2937799002/

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