An alert reader who goes by the pseudonym “redyns” has pointed out something very interesting about Firefly Space Systems, the company that on Thursday is reported to have laid off its entire staff due to financial difficulties.
In April, Firefly and NASA modified a contract under the Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) program from land launch to air launch, according to the USASpending.gov website. The company’s Firefly α small satellite booster was originally designed to launch vertically from the ground.
The website shows that Firefly was awarded a VCLS contract worth $4.4 million on Sept. 30, 2015. A second contract modification has been made to “deobligate” $2.5 million in funding from the contract. That modification was made on Sept. 27, two days before the layoffs.
A measure that would establish a space enterprise development program and California spaceport authority has stalled in the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB-506, which is sponsored by state Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), has been held in committee and under suspension. Held in committee means it failed to receive sufficient votes to pass. Held under submission indicates the bill’s “author and the committee members want to work on or discuss the bill further….This does not preclude the bill from being set for another hearing.”
The measure would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to establish a space enterprise development program to promote the state’s industry.
California State Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has introduced legislation that would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to establish a space enterprise development program to promote the state’s industry.
Fuller’s measure would likely lead to the establishment of a California Spaceport Authority to oversee the efforts. The bill gives the Governor’s Office the authority to contract with a non-profit group to provide technical assistance and support and to serve as the state’s spaceport authority.
There has not been a state-wide organization to promote its aerospace interests since the non-profit California Space Authority dissolved in June 2011 after it ran out of funds.