Momentus will provide in-space transportation services to various orbits all the way out to deep space. They will receive $8.3 million in funding today.
The funds will go towards in-orbit technology demonstration of the company’s in-space rocket scheduled to launch in the 1st quarter of 2019.
Prime Movers Lab led the round for Momentus, a 2018 graduate of the Y Combinator program, with participation from Liquid 2 Ventures, One Way Ventures, Mountain Nazca, Y Combinator and numerous other VCs.
Dakin Sloss, Founder and General Partner at Prime Movers Lab (which invests in physics-powered startups) said:
“Momentus has not only developed groundbreaking and efficient water-powered, in-space rockets, but also validated the massive market demand for their services with hundreds of millions of dollars in LOIs. We are thrilled to back this extraordinary team of seasoned entrepreneurs and space industry veterans in their impressive pace of introducing novel technology to space — which we expect will continue with the upcoming in-space demonstration in the first half of 2019.
Momentus Founder, President, and veteran space entrepreneur Mikhail Kokorich said: “We are building in-space rockets that, once in space, move spacecraft from one orbit to another. Our goal is to make in-space rides affordable and fast. Democratization of in-space transportation will enable a lot of new business models beyond low earth orbit.”
According to a recent report by the Satellite Industry Association, prepared by Bryce Space and Technology, the space economy hit almost $270 Billion in 2017. The first market Momentus will address is low-earth orbit (LEO) transportation, mostly through orbital altitude adjustments for satellites. The trans-GEO market will be driven by applications like satellites tugging from LEO to higher orbits such as mid-earth orbit or geostationary orbit, in-space services and satellite de-orbiting. Currently this market is served either by chemical booster stages, or by ion propulsion onboard, which is overkill for the requirements and not as efficient as water for the fuel to mass ratio.
Vigoride, Momentus’ smallest ESPA class in-space rocket service will be providing rides from LEO with wet mass less than 250 kg, which will be ready and space qualified in 2019.
Back on Earth, Momentus is focused on the following milestones:
● 2019: Flight demonstration of our technology in space
● 2020: Start providing Vigoride service using our first in-space rocket;
● 2020: Test next-gen Ardoride engines for our in-space rockets in Simulated Space Environments.
Momentus will use microwaves to heat water to super-high temperatures.
They are using proven components in an innovative way.
Future systems will be able to gather water from asteroids and planets for easy refueling. Missions will be able to travel anywhere in the solar system and get fuel. Power can be from solar or other power sources.
Two to three times the ISP – fuel efficiency- of chemical rockets
Main propulsion for small spacecrafts
Orbit raising from LEO, orbit inclination change
Satellite deorbiting missions
Main thruster for deep space spacecrafts
In-space boosters for micro-launchers
Starting mass: 180kg (ESPA) or 300kg (ESPA GRANDE)
∆V: up to 6km/sec
Propulsion: water plasma-powered Vigor
Specific Impulse: up to 700 seconds
Double the performance of chemical rockets
Solar power: 500W
Space debris removal
Platform for small telecom satellites
In-space boosters for small-lift launch vehicles
Deep space exploration
Near-Earth asteroid scouting
Payload from LEO: up to 180kg to Lunar orbit
Payload from GTO: up to 250kg to Mars orbit
∆V: up to 6km/sec
Propulsion: water plasma-powered Ardor
Specific impulse: 700 sec
Solar power: 2-3kW
Boosting of large satellites from LEO to GEO
Moon exploration resupply
Deep space missions
Asteroid mining infrastructure
Payload: over 10,000kg to GEO
∆V: up to 8km/sec
Propulsion: water plasma-powered Fervor
Specific impulse: 900 sec
Solar power: over 10kW
Water delivery from asteroids to cis-lunar space
Deployment of asteroid mining infrastructure
Moon and Mars exploitation resupply
Payload: over 100tn
Propulsion: water plasma-powered Valor
Specific impulse: 1100 sec
Solar power: over 100kW
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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