Innovator Max Polyakov and Firefly Aerospace: New Space is Available for Everybody

By  //  August 3, 2019

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Max Polyakov’s company Firefly Aerospace initiated the program DREAM that is called to increase the efficiency of education and science research.

The project DREAM (The Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission) is an open competition for people of different age who share one passion – space.

Here, they willingly accept all the ideas: from a kid’s painting to a student’s experiment or orbital satellite constructed by a young startup. The most creative projects will fly to space on board of a rocket Firefly Alpha when it’ll perform its first flight.

The main purpose of this mission is to support and encourage STEM to develop space industry. It’s a pedagogic strategy based on the integration of technology, science, math, and engineering into the educational process (STEM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

We must use STEM to grow talents during the next few years. Otherwise, our country will be slow in technology development. That’s why Firefly’s mission is so important. Its aim is to increase the interest of youth for science, engineering, and inspire to invent and get new achievements,” the member of Advisory Council of Firefly and ex-secretary of U.S. Air Forces Deborah James says.

Organizers finished the selection of applications and they will name the winners on the 30th of June. According to the contest’s rules, a participant had not only to show his project but also to provide a tech explanation of why his idea deserves to be highly estimated.

Max Polyakov: ”Space Needs Not Only Dreamers but Also Knowledge”

Space is the source of inspiration as well as amazing practice for knowledge, experience, and innovations, – Firefly’s owner Max Polyakov thinks. – Today, school graduators and students must know things that no one even thought about 10 years ago, and STEM helps to solve this problem. A new educational strategy becomes popular all over the world. Highly qualified engineers and scientists are the key roles in space researches and projects. The same thing we can say about management” – Max Polyakov emphasizes.

The businessman also mentioned dualism of commerce and science concerning the launching of his own rocket.

We’re preparing for the launching of our lightweight rocket Alpha. It will be both a commercial and scientific flight. We’ll deliver 6 satellites of our partner Airbus to low earth orbit and have a place for DREAM. It’s space that inspires and stimulates STEM today, that’s why we have to do our best to use this synergy effectively. We started with inviting students from Firefly Academy to Alpha testing sessions because we wanted them to see the launching of a rocket engine. It was a real storm of feelings and excitement. When you see a glint in someone’s eyes, you can be sure this person will go all the way in his sphere. Here, in Firefly, we light up the young people’s eyes, give them a DREAM” – Polyakov summed up.

The History and Achievements of Firefly

Firefly was established only five years ago but it’s already in the list of 20 leading private aerospace companies with SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orbit Beyond, RocketLab. The HQ and production facilities are located in Cedar Park, Texas, USA.

Everything started with an engineer Tom Markusic, who worked for NASA. In 2014, he decided that it’s time to start building his own rockets and founded Firefly Space Systems. He needed 2 years to create prototypes of a lightweight and middle-weight launch vehicles Alpha and Beta but he was out of money and didn’t have new investments.

The company was close to bankruptcy when Markusic got acquainted with investor and innovator Max Polyakov.

Polyakov and his investment fund Noosphere Ventures invited Ukrainian specialists to work for Firefly. Ukraine has a huge scientific potential and it was in the list of top space countries.

The renewed startup Firefly Aerospace demonstrated many achievements within 2 years. The company received permission to use 2 cosmodromes at Vandenberg base of Air Forces in California and on Cape Canaveral from the U.S .government. Firefly signed agreements with D-Orbit, Airbus, SSTL, and others. Besides, NASA invited Max Polyakov to take part in a new Moon program Artemis.

Donald Trump invested 4.2 billion dollars in the first stage of this project CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services).

Today, Firefly prepares to launch Firefly Alpha for the first time and works on improvement of Israeli Lunar Module landing technology “Beresheet” as a part of Artemis. Polyakov’s company plans to conduct 8 flights annually and increase this number up to 24 after they build one more factory in Florida.

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