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About Firefly Space Systems

Firefly was created to provide low-cost, high-performance space launch capability for the under-served small satellite market, where secondary-payload launches are often the only option. Firefly’s primary focus is creating the world’s best and lowest cost light satellite launch vehicle by using proven rocket technologies and employing mass production processes. Current launch vehicles are not designed specifically to service the growing demand for small satellite launches.  Many of the current vehicles are too large or too expensive to be viable options, and "ride sharing" often comes with drawbacks that undermine its viability as a long term solution for commercial interests.

Today every rocket launch is highly customized – the goal is for Alpha to be available “off the shelf”. At full capacity, Firefly aims for Alpha launches to be a scheduled service, launching weekly, driving volume purchases by offering discounts on multiple orders.

Product & Service

Firefly Alpha, the first launch vehicle in Firefly's line-up, is a two stage, pressure fed, all carbon-composite rocket, built using Firefly's design philosophy, emphasizing proven technologies to make production simpler and cost lower. Firefly aims to use as few parts as possible, and when multiple parts are necessary, they use as many of the same part as possible, thus reducing complexity. Alpha's carbon fiber structure (as opposed to traditional aluminum) allows much of the fabrication work to be automated. 

The Firefly team has developed many key elements of the rocket: the propulsion system, the structures, and avionics. They have additionally made progress in fabricating those elements. They have engineered compact, low cost spaceflight avionics systems to replace larger (and heavier), more expensive legacy systems.  They have created thrust chambers, and are machining additional chambers. Further, they have conducted key tests, including multiple successful "hot fires" of the engine, and testing of the cryogenic tanks.

Firefly Alpha 1.0*

Payload200kg to Sun SynchronousOrbit; 400kg to 400km equatorial Low Earth Orbit (LEO)

Length77 feet

Width6 feet (stage one); 5 feet (stage two)

Stage one propulsionPressure fed plug cluster aerospike fueled by LOx-RP1

Stage two propulsionPressure fed conventional bell fueled by LOx-RP1

Price/launch$8 Million USD

Key enabling technologies:

  • All carbon composite high pressure propellanttanks
  • Advanced avionics suite with autonomous flight termination system
  • Plug cluster aerospike first stage engine

These figures represent management estimates and are meant for illustrative purposes. They do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements.

Media Mentions

Team Story

Firefly was created to provide low-cost, high-performance space launch capability for the under-served small satellite market, where secondary-payload launches are often the only option. Firefly believes that small satellites are playing an increasingly significant role in space.  Along with former SpaceX and Virgin Galactic colleagues, Markusic and King founded Firefly in January 2014 because they did not believe that incumbent players were doing enough to address the small-satellite launch market.

Meet the Founders

Thomas Markusic

Chief Executive Officer

Prior to co-founding Firefly, Tom served in a variety of technical and leadership roles in new-space companies: Vice President of Propulsion at Virgin Galactic, Senior Systems Engineer at Blue Origin, Director of the Texas Test Site and Principle Propulsion Engineer at SpaceX. Prior to his new-space work, Tom was a civil servant at NASA and the USAF, where he worked as research scientist and propulsion engineer. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

Pj King

Co-Founder

PJ holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, and a Master's Degree in Astronautics & Space Engineering from Cranfield University in the UK. PJ deferred his PhD in Astronautics at Stanford University to found software company, Clockworks International, which he grew to a multi-million dollar business by 1999, when he concluded a trade sale of the company.

In 2007, PJ completed a corporate turnaround and privatization of CNG Travel Group plc, a New York based, UK listed travel and technology company. PJ restructured that company and turned it from making a $23 million loss into an $8 million operating profit. PJ raised $45M in equity and debt finance and lead a Management Buy-Out of the company. Prior to co-founding Firefly Space Systems, PJ founded ReResearch LLC a materials research group dedicated to solving the world's toughest problems in the renewable energy sector.

Michael Blum

Chief Financial Officer

Michael is an entrepreneur at heart. He is the Co-Founder & President of Hedgeye Risk Management, a leading online financial media company. Born in Hong Kong, he has spent many years in the region and is Managing Director of Asia Leisure Capital, a Macao based casino and hotel management and financing firm. Michael was formerly Senior Manager at PayPal, where he started PayPal Germany and later ran payments in South East Asia. Always passionate about space, Michael has been a frequent speaker on commercial access to space and space entrepreneurs. Among others, he has given lectures at Columbia Business School, the Yale School of Architecture and the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macao. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Yale University.

Thomas Markusic

Chief Executive Officer

Prior to co-founding Firefly, Tom served in a variety of technical and leadership roles in new-space companies: Vice President of Propulsion at Virgin Galactic, Senior Systems Engineer at Blue Origin, Director of the Texas Test Site and Principle Propulsion Engineer at SpaceX. Prior to his new-space work, Tom was a civil servant at NASA and the USAF, where he worked as research scientist and propulsion engineer. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

Pj King

Co-Founder

PJ holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, and a Master's Degree in Astronautics & Space Engineering from Cranfield University in the UK. PJ deferred his PhD in Astronautics at Stanford University to found software company, Clockworks International, which he grew to a multi-million dollar business by 1999, when he concluded a trade sale of the company.

In 2007, PJ completed a corporate turnaround and privatization of CNG Travel Group plc, a New York based, UK listed travel and technology company. PJ restructured that company and turned it from making a $23 million loss into an $8 million operating profit. PJ raised $45M in equity and debt finance and lead a Management Buy-Out of the company. Prior to co-founding Firefly Space Systems, PJ founded ReResearch LLC a materials research group dedicated to solving the world's toughest problems in the renewable energy sector.

Michael Blum

Chief Financial Officer

Michael is an entrepreneur at heart. He is the Co-Founder & President of Hedgeye Risk Management, a leading online financial media company. Born in Hong Kong, he has spent many years in the region and is Managing Director of Asia Leisure Capital, a Macao based casino and hotel management and financing firm. Michael was formerly Senior Manager at PayPal, where he started PayPal Germany and later ran payments in South East Asia. Always passionate about space, Michael has been a frequent speaker on commercial access to space and space entrepreneurs. Among others, he has given lectures at Columbia Business School, the Yale School of Architecture and the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macao. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Yale University.

Key Team Members

Alex Saal

Business Analyst Extern

Shey Sabripour

Chief Technical Officer

Scott Carnahan

Stage Systems Chief Engineer

Jared Cuneo

Structures Chief Engineer

Eric Peters

Payload Segment Lead Engineer

Rick Kitslaar

VP, Finance

Brad Obrocto

Launch Operations Manager

Alexander Weldon

Director of Production

Christina Kang

HR & Office Manager

Leah Turner

Design Engineer

Chris Craighill

Senior Analyst

Kelly Coen

Instrumentation Technician

Trevor James

Propulsion Chief Engineer

Notable Advisors & Investors

Dylan Taylor

Investor, President and COO, Colliers International

Michael Blum

Investor, CFO, Firefly Space Systems

Thomas Markusic

Investor, CEO, Firefly Space Systems

Michiel Mol

Investor, CEO, Space Expedition Corporation

Ryan Feit

Investor, CEO, SeedInvest

Capital Factory

Investor, Incubator and seed stage mentoring program for startups in Austin

Brad Obrocto

Investor, Launch and Integration Manager, Firefly Space Systems

Maureen Gannon

Investor, Co-Founder, Galactic Unite

Lauren Mccollum

Frequently Asked Questions

Making an Investment in Firefly Space Systems
How does investing work?

When you complete your investment on SeedInvest, your money will be transferred to an escrow account where an independent escrow agent will watch over your investment until it is accepted by Firefly Space Systems. Once Firefly Space Systems accepts your investment, and certain regulatory procedures are completed, your money will be transferred from the escrow account to Firefly Space Systems in exchange for your shares. At that point, you will be a proud owner in Firefly Space Systems.


What is the difference between preferred equity and a convertible note?

Preferred equity is usually issued to outside investors and carries rights and conditions that are different from that of common stock. For example, preferred equity may include rights that prevent or minimize the effects of dilution or grants special privileges in situations when the company is sold.

A convertible note is a unique form of debt that converts into equity, usually in conjunction with a future financing round. The investor effectively loans money to a startup with the expectation that they will receive equity in the company in the future at a discounted price per share when the company raises its next round of financing.

To learn more about startup investment types check out “How to Choose a Startup Investment” in our academy.


What will I need to complete my investment?

To make an investment, you will need the following information readily available:

  1. Personal information such as your current address and phone number
  2. Employment and employer information
  3. Net worth and income information
  4. Social Security Number or government-issued identification
  5. ABA bank routing number and checking account number (typically found on a personal check or bank statement)

What if I change my mind about investing?

Until a closing occurs, you may cancel your investment at any time, for any reason. You will receive an email when the closing occurs and your shares have been issued. If you have already funded your investment and your funds are in escrow, your funds will be promptly refunded to you upon cancellation. To cancel your investment, please go to your portfolio page.


After My Investment
How can I sell my shares in the future?

Currently there is no market or liquidity for these shares. Right now Firefly Space Systems does not plan to list these shares on a national exchange or another secondary market. At some point Firefly Space Systems may choose to do so, but until then you should plan to hold your investment for a significant period of time before a “liquidation event” occurs. A “liquidation event” is when Firefly Space Systems either lists their shares on an exchange, is acquired, or goes bankrupt.


How do I keep track of this investment?

You can return to SeedInvest at any time to view your portfolio of investments and obtain a summary statement.


Other General Questions
What is this page about?

This is Firefly Space Systems's fundraising profile page, where you can find information that may be helpful for you to make an investment decision in their company. The information on this page includes the company overview, team bios, and the risks and disclosures related to this investment opportunity.


What are the risks of this investment?

This investment is highly speculative and should not be made by anyone who cannot afford to risk the entire investment amount. In addition to these risks, you should carefully consider the specific information and risks disclosed in Firefly Space Systems’s profile.