Firefly Aerospace Introduces Elytra Orbital Vehicle with Enhanced On-Orbit Mobility and Services

By Sophia Francise

August 11, 2023

Firefly Aerospace, Inc. announced that it has expanded its on-orbit services with a line of highly mobile and scalable orbital vehicles named Elytra. 

According to Firefly, which is an end-to-end space transportation company, Elytra offers on-orbit mobility, hosting, delivery, and servicing across Cislunar space and beyond. 

“Elytra further expands Firefly’s on-orbit services by opening access to more orbits, extending the life of each mission, and providing deorbiting services to help minimize space debris. Our robust vehicle line gives us a unique advantage to quickly launch, deploy, and service satellites on-orbit in response to dynamic changes in space,”  said Bill Weber, the CEO of Firefly Aerospace. 

When launched on Firefly’s small- and medium-lift launch vehicles, Elytra can service the entire lifecycle of government and commercial missions.

What is Firefly’s Elytra Orbital Vehicle?

Elytra, formerly dubbed Firefly’s Space Utility Vehicle, is a space vehicle that can travel further into space to support larger, more advanced on-orbit missions. 

The Elytra is offered in three vehicle models, including Elytra Dawn, Elytra Dusk, and Elytra Dark.

Elytra Dawn, which is optimized for low Earth orbit (LEO), can be rapidly launched to support responsive hosting, rideshare, and delivery missions. 


Elytra Dusk is built with enhanced maneuverability, power, and autonomy, providing responsive on-orbit taskings, such as relocation, space domain awareness, and deorbiting services, from LEO to geosynchronous orbit (GEO)

Elytra Dark is ruggedized to serve as persistent orbital infrastructure and support transfers from LEO to lunar orbit and beyond.

“Firefly’s Elytra vehicles are scalable and customizable to support each customer’s unique on-orbit needs. Utilizing many of the same flight-proven components from Firefly’s launch vehicles and landers, Elytra supports rapid mission schedules while providing affordable access across cislunar space and beyond,” said the Vice President of Spacecraft at Firefly Aerospace, Jana Spruce.

Designed, manufactured, and tested in-house, Elytra utilizes flight-proven hardware flown on Firefly’s Alpha vehicle and qualified systems common to Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander, including the carbon composite structures, core avionics, and propulsion systems.[1]

Elytra also utilizes the on-orbit heritage and learnings from Spaceflight’s Sherpa vehicle following Firefly’s recent company acquisition.

Firefly’s first Elytra mission will launch in 2024 as part of a rapid-response mission contract with Texas-based startup Xtenti for the Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace (NRO), and will be aboard Firefly’s Alpha vehicle.


  1. Firefly Aerospace, ‘Firefly Aerospace Debuts Elytra Orbital Vehicles with Enhanced On-Orbit Mobility and Services’, 8 August 2023,[]