SpaceX Alum Goes After Falcon 1 Market With Firefly

As entrepreneurial “New Space” grows up, veterans of its early days are finding innovative ways to tackle old problems and enter emerging markets that did not exist when their industry was an infant—a decade ago.

Thomas E. Markusic, a propulsion engineer who cut his New Space teeth running Elon Musk’s flight-test center in Texas and later held senior posts at Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, has kicked off a startup called Firefly Space Systems that is developing a low-cost Falcon 1-class launch vehicle to launch small satellites using a methane-fueled aerospike engine and composite cryotanks.

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