Firefly Aerospace remains on track for the inaugural flight of its Alpha small satellite rocket sometime inÂ 2020 as the company works to accelerate development and testing of launch vehicle components, NASASpaceFlight reported Thursday.Â
Alpha is designed to carry up to 2,204 pounds of payload to low-orbit and roughly 1,388 lbsÂ to a sun synchronous orbit.
The vehicleÂ will emplyÂ four Reaver first stage engines and a single Lightning engine on the second stage for launch.
Firefly expectsÂ qualification tests to occur through late 2019 andÂ plans to use Space Launch Complex 2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for initial flights of its Alpha rocket.
The companyÂ is building a mass production facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to support rapid launch operations.Â
Another space vehicle may come out in the early 2020s, the company said. The Beta rocket will serve as an upgraded tri-core launcher based on Alphaâ€™s features and isÂ scheduled for launch between 2021 and 2022.Â