This webinar examines the trials of reaching first flight, an important milestone for a space startup. It looks at the very manual way that the harness system for a rocket was initially designed at Firefly Aerospace, and how in order to succeed, the company adopted and implemented a series of modern tools.
Firefly is a diversified, end-to-end space transportation company with several product lines. Firefly Alpha is an orbital launch vehicle. They also develop a spacecraft, the Space Utility Vehicle, and are designing and building the Blue Ghost lander slated for lunar landing and exploration in 2024.
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Harnesses and rockets are the nervous system of the machine anatomy. In this webinar, Firefly explains the anatomy of a harness and shares examples. The presentation includes a look at Alpha launch vehicle’s 600+ harnesses, avionics components, valves and sensors and the profile for an Alpha rocket launch.
“The harness schedule is always on the critical path of the project. This is because the harness is the last design to be frozen (all the electrical interfaces and the spacecraft accommodation shall be frozen before) and one of the first equipment to be installed on the satellite (no electrical testing is possible on the spacecraft without the harness).” – Marc Malagoli, Astrium Satellite.
See how Firefly moved away from an inefficient, traditional approach to E/E systems development. In the past, their harness engineering process used Excel spreadsheets, Visio diagrams, Inventor spline lengths, AutoCAD drawings, PowerPoint installation figures and Vault PDM and network folders. Now, Firefly relies on the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to create a seamless design lifecycle.
“It took less than 3 calendar weeks to go from first engine bay harness in hand to being completely done integrating all harnessing and performing all checkouts in the S1 engine bay. For comparison, this same feat took nearly 10 weeks for flight 1. We did it in about a third of the time and to a much higher quality standard. The secret ingredient unquestionably was having that NX harness CAD.” – Warren Terry, Firefly Integration Engineer
Watch the webinar to learn why Firefly made the switch and see the results of their digital transformation.
Lead Harness Design Engineer
Norman Rivera is the lead harness design engineer at Firefly Aerospace, an American private aerospace firm based in Austin, Texas, that develops launch vehicles and spacecraft. He leads a team of passionate and determined engineers in developing interconnect schematics, 3D electrical routing and harness production drawings. His 14-year career in the aerospace industry started with jet engines, then moved on to large luxury VIP commercial aircraft. He is now working on launch vehicles and lunar landers. Since joining Firefly in 2019, Norman was part of designing and developing fluid systems, secondary structures and wire harnessing on the Alpha launch vehicle, the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base and the Blue Ghost lunar lander.