Momentus, OrbAstro Hitch Ride to Sun-Synchronous Orbit with SpaceX

A rendering of Momentus’ Vigoride in-space shuttle. Photo: Momentus

Momentus, which provides in-space transportation services for satellites, will fly an OrbAstro 3U satellite to Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) onboard the SpaceX dedicated rideshare mission in 2021, the companies announced Thursday. 

OrbAstro is a company based in the United Kingdom that is focused on developing hardware and software to enable tiny satellites to operate in large flocks. This in-orbit demonstration mission on a 3U OrbAstro platform will host a variety of payloads, including an Ultrascale+ based onboard computer coupled to an artificial neural network-based constellation management system. 

“Following this [in-orbit demonstration], we expect to launch a small cluster of formation-flying nanosatellites to de- risk all remaining technologies under development before scaling up to our constellation aspirations, said Dr. Ash Dove-Jay, OrbAstro founder and CEO. “Momentus strikes us as an ideal partner going forwards — their flexible approach, large launch manifest, and ability to transfer us to a nominal orbit is unmatched.”

Momentous CEO Mikhail Kokorich said in the future, OrbAstro’s work could enable Momentus to do rendezvous and proximity ops for refueling, satellite servicing, and repositioning.

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