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  • Satellite Evolution

Momentus Vigoride-6 spacecraft arrives at SpaceX launch site

Momentus Inc., a US commercial space company that offers transportation and other in-space infrastructure services, today announced that its Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base for its third demonstration mission targeted to launch on the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission next month.

The Momentus team with Vigoride-6 before shipping the Orbital Service Vehicle to Vandenberg Space Force Base for launch. (Photo credit: Momentus)

The Momentus team completed final flight preparations, and the Vigoride-6 OSV is integrated with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The priorities of this mission include delivering payloads for NASA, as well as 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 mark our third OSV mission. Spaceflight heritage is an important competitive discriminator as customers seek reliability and flexibility," said Momentus Chief Executive Officer John Rood. "We're honored to serve NASA on this flight as we deliver two payloads for their NASA LLITED mission to a custom orbit and provide orbital transportation services for several commercial customers."

In addition to customer payload deployments, the Vigoride-6 mission will focus on continued testing of the OSV in space, including the Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET) that is designed to use water as a propellant and produce thrust by expelling extremely hot gases through a rocket nozzle. Vigoride-6 will also carry a Momentus payload called the Tape Spring Solar Array (TASSA) technology. TASSA 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. TASSA can coil around a 4" diameter mandrel, compared to the 12" ones used for other rollout solar arrays.

"Momentus has applied to patent the principles behind TASSA," said Rood. "Once TASSA development is complete, we anticipate that the technology could reduce the overall recurring production cost of a Vigoride while reducing lead time by several months. These are important improvements as we continue to transition from Vigoride development to production at lower unit costs. We are also seeing commercial and government customers interested in TASSA."

Momentus launched its inaugural mission in May 2022. That mission deployed eight customer payloads from the Vigoride-3 vehicle and a third-party deployer. Vigoride-5, the Company's second demonstration mission, launched in January 2023.

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