Skykraft’s spacecraft is a pathfinder for a future large LEO constellation, and will be deployed via a new separation ring named EOS and developed by MECANO ID under a CNES contract thanks to the partial financing of the Future Investment Plan. The launch service agreement between Skykraft and Momentus provides for another smallsat launch in late 2021, part of an accelerated demonstration program of four, successive, satellite iterations before the launch of Skykraft’s Space Based Air Traffic Management constellation in 2023.
Skykraft is an Australian space company that specializes in the conceptualization, design, manufacturing and operations of smallsat constellations for the delivery of space-based global services. As a spin-off from the University of New South Wales Canberra’s Space Program, Skykraft’s rapidly maturing foundation constellation is dedicated to space-based Air Traffic Management services.
This constellation will provide continuous global coverage for aircraft at all altitudes, improving both the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations. Skykraft’s satellite will validate space-based VHF communication and demonstrate key technologies such as deployable antennas – paving the way for the 210-satellite Skykraft constellation poised to commence operations from 2023.
MECANO ID, a French company that specializes in developing mechanical and thermal-dominated systems that are to be subjected to harsh environments — mainly dedicated to the space environment — is now developing the high-precision deployer EOS for nanosatellites and microsatellites. Characterized by light-weight and low-spin deployment, EOS offers unparalleled ease of integration and access thanks to its fully axisymmetric design and customizable interfaces. The June 2021 mission with Skykraft and Momentus constitutes the flight qualification for EOS and opens the door for commercialization.
“The Momentus Vigoride and MECANO ID EOS provide an efficient and flexible ride to orbit, allowing us to accelerate the development of our space-based service delivery constellation,” said Skykraft Chief Engineer Doug Griffin. “By enabling Skykraft to prove out key design features in the space environment, Momentus is helping us develop and evolve space-based services for the near future.”
“MECANO ID is proud to fly with Momentus on Vigoride, and to embark the Skykraft spacecraft for the demonstration flight of EOS, our deployer,” said Didier Zely, Product Line Manager at MECANO ID.
Stéphane Galinier, Business Development Manager, added, “MECANO ID selected MOMENTUS mainly for the technical maturity shown during our exchanges, despite the company’s young age.”
“Momentus is thrilled to announce our first launch service agreement with an Australian company. We have been amazed over the last year to observe the progress of the incredibly vibrant space community there, and look forward to support Skykraft with the launch of their pathfinder and subsequent constellation deployment,” said Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus. Fred Kennedy, President of Momentus. He added, “This agreement illustrates Momentus’ ability to operate across three continents and make newspace a truly global industry.”