The smallsat market is in the early stages of a radial growth phase that started around the year 2012 when 55 satellites launched globally. It has grown to a level of more than 300 launches per year in 2019, and is projected to grow to over 1,500 launches per year over the next several years. This new generation of smallsats range in size from a few kilograms to a few hundred kilograms.
In spite of this growth, the smallsat community faces a serious problem. Most of these satellites are launched either as piggyback payloads to standard orbits that are not optimized for smallsat missions or they are launched on small or expensive rockets that often cannot take payloads to the altitudes or distribution of orbital planes that provide the global daily coverage of the Earth that customers need. Momentus has solved this problem. To do this we partner with launch service providers to take our mutual customer’s satellites from where rockets drop them off to their custom orbits in space.
For our customers, working with Momentus could not be simpler. In most cases, our customers simply ship their payloads to us exactly as they would if launching into space on any rocket as depicted in the image. We integrate their payload onto our vehicle or ride using standard adapters and payload dispensers from the launch industry. This approach adds no additional integration cost or complexity for our customers over what they would experience for any ride into space. This also allows us to ship our vehicle fully integrated with our customer’s payload to the launch service provider and on to the launch vehicle.
We have the flexibility to carry multiple payloads on the same ride. The payloads may be from a single customer, or multiple payloads from various customers. Because our vehicles have robust, simple interfaces it is also possible for us to work with third party launch integrators such as our partners at EXOLAUNCH. In our model, we transport our ride to the launch service provider where our system will be packaged with payloads prior to shipment to the launch site and integration with the launch vehicle.
After this, Momentus vehicles ride to space on rockets carrying one or more of our customer’s satellites or spacecraft. By providing rides on our low cost, high performance vehicles, we enable our customers to avoid the cost, risk, and expense of integrated main propulsion systems. After the launch vehicle drops us off attached to our customer’s satellites in an initial orbit, we deploy our solar arrays, activate our water based propulsion system, and depart from the initial orbit.
Once the payload is delivered to its final orbit we have multiple options. If we have additional customer payloads destined for other orbits, we continue on, dropping them off, one at a time each at their destination orbit until all scheduled drops are completed. At the end of our service mission we might move our ride vehicle into a disposal orbit. In the near future, it will be possible for our vehicles to return to a water propellant depot in orbit where we will replenish propellant, pick up more payloads launched independently, and provide additional services to our customers. Eventually these water depots will be supplied not from the Earth, but from resources harvested from near Earth asteroids or the polar regions of the Moon.MORE NEWS