Momentus Inc., a US commercial space company that offers transportation and other in-space infrastructure services, launched its third Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) to low-Earth orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission on April 14. Momentus established contact with its Vigoride vehicle and confirmed that both solar arrays are deployed and the vehicle is generating power and charging its batteries.
The Vigoride-6 mission will deliver two satellites to a custom orbit for the NASA LLITED mission. Momentus will use its pioneering Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET) propulsion technology that uses water as a propellant to change the orbital inclination of the Vigoride OSV to support these deliveries. Other payloads on the mission include the REVELA payload for ARCA Dynamics, the VIREO CubeSat for C3S LLC., the DISCO-1 CubeSat for Aarhus University, and the IRIS-C payload for an Asian customer booked through ISILAUNCH.
“Vigoride-6 will be the most complex mission of our Vigoride OSV to date as we must achieve significant Delta-V with our MET propulsion system in order to deliver NASA’s payloads to custom orbits,” said Momentus Chief Executive Officer John Rood. “In addition to providing orbital delivery services for our customers, we’re hosting a Momentus technology demonstration of a new kind of solar array.”
The Tape Spring Solar Array (TASSA) technology features large sheets of flexible solar cells bonded to tape springs. To stow, they are tightly coiled around a mandrel. After launch, motors unroll the mandrel, deploying the solar array. Momentus aims to drive down vehicle production costs and streamline on-orbit operations, while reducing the cost of power for the satellite, with this technology once operational.
The launch of the Vigoride-6 vehicle marks the third spacecraft in orbit for Momentus. The Company launched its inaugural mission, Vigoride-3, in May 2022 and deployed eight satellites to orbit from Vigoride and a third-party deployer. The Vigoride-5 spacecraft, launched in January, is providing hosted payload support for Caltech’s Space-based Solar Power Project payload and deploying a satellite with the Qosmosys Zeus-1 payload. The Vigoride-5 mission also marked a significant milestone for the Company as its MET system successfully completed initial in-space testing.
With the launch of the Vigoride-6 OSV, Momentus will enter a new phase operating two spacecraft in orbit concurrently as the Company continues to grow its capabilities.