Watt said Beta has been redesigned from a triple-core rocket, akin to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, to a single core in order to increase how much it can lift. That rocket, featuring a reusable first stage, will be able to lift 8,000 kilograms to LEO, he said.
In a statement, Firefly CEO Tom Markusic praised the AR1 as an engine well suited for Beta, but stopped short of saying the engine’s selection is a done deal.
I still think that as a launch services company, it’s a bad idea to put yourself in a situation where you’re beholden to someone else’s business for your core engines.
But the confirmation of moving to a single-core, reusable first stage, along with a doubling of Beta’s previous payload is at least the best case scenario here.
I’m curious to find out what their reusability plan would be for a first stage design like that.