Firefly Aerospace Successfully Conducts First Hot Fire Test of Miranda Rocket Engine

Firefly’s Miranda engine to power Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 rocket and Medium Launch Vehicle

Firefly Aerospace, a leading space technology company, has achieved a significant milestone with the successful hot fire test of its new Miranda rocket engine. The test produced a mesmerizing plume of green flames, marking a major step forward in the development of this cutting-edge propulsion system. The Miranda engine is set to power Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 rocket, as well as the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) currently being jointly developed by the two companies. This article explores the implications of Firefly’s latest achievement and the potential impact it could have on the future of space exploration.

Firefly’s Miranda Engine: Powering the Antares 330 and MLV
The Miranda engine is specifically designed for the first stage of Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 rocket, which is intended to deliver payloads of over 22,000 lbs (10,000 kg) to the International Space Station. Additionally, the Miranda engine will be utilized in the MLV, which aims to carry an impressive 35,000 lbs (16,000 kg) of payload to low Earth orbit. This collaboration between Firefly Aerospace and Northrop Grumman represents a significant step towards achieving fully domestic rocket capabilities, as it will replace the Antares 230, which relied on Russian rocket engines and Ukrainian-built first stages.

A Game-Changer in Rapid Launch Capabilities
Northrop Grumman’s leadership has already hailed the Antares 330/MLV as a game-changer in terms of rapid launch capabilities. Firefly Aerospace has already demonstrated its ability to achieve this with its previous “Victus Nox” mission, which set a new responsive launch record by successfully placing a payload into orbit with just 27 hours of notice. The partnership between Firefly and Northrop Grumman is poised to revolutionize space launch, not only in the commercial sector but also in national security and civil space endeavors.

Reducing Risk through Parallel Development
The parallel development of the Antares 330 and MLV offers numerous advantages. Scott Lehr, Vice President of Launch and Missile Defense Systems at Northrop Grumman, emphasizes that upgrading the Antares first stage alongside the development of the MLV enables both companies to bring a new launch vehicle to market more rapidly while minimizing design risks. This approach allows for the integration of lessons learned from one project into the other, ensuring a more efficient and robust launch system overall.

Firefly’s Moon Lander and the “Firefly” Connection
In addition to its work on the Antares 330 and MLV, Firefly Aerospace is also developing a moon lander named the Blue Ghost. NASA has selected the Blue Ghost for a scientific mission to the lunar far side in 2026, highlighting Firefly’s growing reputation in the space industry. Interestingly, Firefly shares its name with a beloved cult TV series, “Firefly,” which follows the adventures of a group of mercenaries traveling through space. The company’s previous Alpha launch vehicle was powered by the Reaver engine, coincidentally sharing its name with one of the main antagonists in the “Firefly” franchise.


Firefly Aerospace’s successful hot fire test of the Miranda rocket engine represents a significant milestone in the company’s quest to revolutionize space launch capabilities. The engine’s integration into Northrop Grumman’s Antares 330 rocket and MLV is expected to enhance rapid launch capabilities, reduce reliance on foreign technologies, and propel the future of space exploration. With the development of the Blue Ghost moon lander and its connection to the beloved “Firefly” franchise, Firefly Aerospace continues to capture the imagination of both space enthusiasts and pop culture aficionados alike. As the company forges ahead, its innovative approach and groundbreaking technologies are set to shape the future of space travel.






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