Under the MoU, the companies will mount a Made In Space robotic arm on a Momentus Vigoride transfer vehicle. With the robotic arm, Vigoride could grab onto a satellite in space to move it to a new orbit.
Harrison Pitman, the Product Development Specialist for Made In Space Europe, stated, “To provide transportation services to these assets, a robotic arm is used to capture the external satellites before initiating transportation operations. Robotic arms are preferred to traditional docking methods as this enables a wider array of spacecraft to be serviced by Vigoride.”
Jaroslaw Jaworski, the Made In Space Europe GM, noted that the 2022 demonstration mission will show “how robotic arms can improve in-space transportation. We are looking to critically evaluate the viability of these two highly advanced, commercial technologies working within a fully integrated system.”
Additionally, Momentus has signed an agreement to integrate two PocketPod deployers containing nine PocketQube spacecraft from Spain’s Fossa Systems with the second Vigoride demonstration mission, scheduled to launch in February 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
PocketQubes are miniature spacecraft measuring five centimeters on a side. Similar to cubesats, multiple PocketQubes can be combined to create satellites of various sizes.
The PocketQubes Fossa plans to launch carry communications and Earth Observation (EO) payloads, weather sensors and an experimental propulsion system. Three Fossa PocketQubes are designed to provide Long-Range (LoRa) internet-of-things communications. LoRa is a low power wide area network protocol.
“FOSSA is very pleased to be partnering with Momentus in these initial steps, we are looking forward to working with Momentus to establish a stable low-cost orbital access service for the long-run,” Julian Fernandez, Fossa CEO, said in a statement.
Mikhail Kokorich, Momentus CEO, said in a statement the new partnership “demonstrates the versatility of the Vigoride shuttle service.”
Momentus previously signed a launch service agreement with British PocketQube manufacturer Alba Orbital. Vigoride missions carrying picosatellites “will pave the way for affordable constellations of picosatellites in the near future,” Momentus said in a recent news release.