Firefly Aerospace (Firefly) announced this past summer the Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM), a global competition to host academic and educational payloads as rideshare participants on the inaugural flight of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle. Today we are happy to announce the payloads selected to fly on Alpha’s maiden flight to support and stimulate STEM on a global basis.  There are 26 DREAM payloads representing 7 different countries.

The payloads are broken down into two categories, nontechnical and technical. Nontechnical payloads include children’s artwork, messages from children in pediatric hospitals and photographs of previous space missions. Technical payloads range from 3U to 27U satellites supplied by prominent universities and nonprofits from around the globe.

Nontechnical DREAM Payload Participants:

Anderson High School Robotics Program

Animal Packers


Audrey’s Space Dream

Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows

Brady Nilsson

Brian Lunos

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operation Club

Izumiya-Hotaru Photographs for Education and Environments

Liam Fjellstedt


Madison West Rocket Club

Mission Microgravity

Morija Girls Rocket Program

NAET ArtFlight

Noosphere Art Challenge

Pichardo STEM Educational Foundation

St. Paul Elementary School

Think Beyond

Technical DREAM Payload Organizations:

Fossa Systems (Non-profit Juvenile Association)

Hawaii Science and Technology Museum – 501c3

Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Network Innovation and Experimentation (CENETIX)

Purdue University

Teachers in Space, Inc. – 501c3

University of Cambridge

University of Southern California, Space Engineering Research Center (USC SERC)

DREAM payloads will be co-manifested with commercial payloads on the first Alpha launch. Firefly plans to share its DREAM payload stories on its social media starting in late November.

“We are honored to have received so many outstanding submissions that promote STEM globally,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “From an all girl’s STEM rocket program in Lesotho to leading edge technology demos from distinguished universities, the DREAM payloads embody Firefly’s ethos of ‘Making Space for Everyone.'” 

“In 1993 I was on the ASUSat-1 team and we were given the opportunity to launch our first satellite on a donated rideshare slot to LEO,” said Firefly VP of Mission Assurance Shea Ferring. “That program propelled so many of us into the aerospace industry and it is now great to give back with a similar opportunity to multiple university programs. We look forward to providing similar opportunities on future missions to support and encourage STEM students that their dreams do come true.”


Firefly is developing a family of launch and in-space vehicles and services that provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability.  Firefly’s launch vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to six metric tons of payload at the lowest cost/kg in the small-to-medium lift class. Combined with Firefly’s in-space vehicles, such as the Orbital Transfer Vehicle and Genesis Lunar Lander, Firefly provides the space industry with a one-stop shop for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon.  Headquartered in Cedar Park TX, Firefly has additiona
l presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.


Eric Salwan