- Satellite Evolution
Astroscale and Momentus offer NASA commercial solution to reboost Hubble with orbital servicing
Astroscale US Inc., the market leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits and Momentus Inc., a US commercial space company that offers orbital transportation and in-space infrastructure services, are collaborating to offer NASA a sustainable solution for its Hubble Reboost efforts.
The two companies recently responded to NASA’s Hubble Reboost RFI in a joint proposal. The mission’s objectives include safe relocation of Hubble and removal of nearby threatening debris from the celebrated space telescope’s new orbit.
“Leveraging Momentus’ flight heritage with three orbital service vehicles on-orbit today and Astroscale’s expertise in RPOD (rendezvous, proximity operations and docking), we found our product suites to be synergistic in support of a major NASA mission,” said John Rood, Momentus Chief Executive Officer. “Even at 33, Hubble is fully capable of continuing its mission; where it is aging is in its orbital stability. I am thrilled that we collaborated to offer NASA a very cost-effective way to continue to operate this billion-dollar scientific investment by leveraging new robotic in-space servicing technology.”
The proposed mission concept, a commercial solution to extend the life of this important national asset without risk to humans, includes launching a Momentus Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) to low-Earth orbit on a small launch vehicle. Once on orbit, Astroscale’s RPOD technology built into the OSV would be used to safely rendezvous, approach and then complete a robotic capture of the telescope. Once mated, the OSV would perform a series of manoeuvres to raise the Hubble by 50 km. Removal of surrounding and threatening space debris in Hubble’s new orbit using the Vigoride and Astroscale’s RPOD capabilities will be prioritized after the completion of the primary reboost mission.
“The Hubble’s need for a reboost should be an important wake-up call as to why the space industry needs dynamic and responsive in-space infrastructure, and in this case, to extend opportunities to explore our universe,” said Ron Lopez, President and Managing Director of Astroscale US. “The proliferation of in-space servicing and assembly allows us to reimagine how our investments are managed in space; it is the foundation on which the new space age is being built. What we’ve proposed to NASA are options—options that were not available during the five previous crewed servicing missions and that leverage the best of in-space servicing to achieve mission objectives and advance US leadership in space.”