Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”) and Pixxel have executed a service agreement for delivering Pixxel’s second smallsat to SSO orbit in December 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 launch, as well as options to fly again in 2022.
Pixxel is building a constellation of Earth imaging smallsats that can provide real-time remote sensing data across the world. The Momentus Shuttle Service will provide a rideshare for multiple Pixxel spacecraft to predefined orbits.
Founded in 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel satellites will help make the world a more sustainable place through highly accurate data-based insights in agriculture, climate change, forestry and other domains, according to the firm. Pixxel recently raised $5 million in funding, which the company is using to rapidly build and launch the second satellite with Momentus’ help.
Momentus has gained significant traction since its founding in 2017, attracting dozens of customers ranging from private commercial space companies to the likes of Lockheed Martin and NASA, and penning important industry partnerships, most notably with SpaceX.
Momentus employs new and proprietary technologies, including water plasma propulsion, to enable revolutionary, low-cost, orbital Shuttle and Charter services. The Charter Service will allow dedicated capacity to be allocated to a single customer’s payload. In the Shuttle Service model, the payload will be a rideshare along with other payloads hosted or deployed from the Vigoride transfer vehicle.
Awais Ahmed, Pixxel’s CEO, said, “We are excited to partner with Momentus to get our satellites up in orbit as soon as we can and get the data in the hands of our customers. Momentus’ launch and in-space transfer services provide us with the flexibility to get to the orbit we want, even on a rideshare mission. We look forward to working with them to help make space more accessible.”
“Pixxel is doing something innovative that hasn’t been done in India or the West,” said Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus. “With a shared belief in humanity’s expansion in space via in-situ resources, we wish this mission the ultimate success.”
The Flexible Experimental Embedded Satellite (FEES) is a demonstrator of a low-cost, picosatellite platform for autonomous on-orbit validation and testing. A first model will fly onboard G.A.U.S.S. Unisat-7 satellite launched on a Soyuz and Momentus will fly the enhanced FEES2 variant on a Vigoride shuttle via a Falcon 9 rocket in the first half of 2021.
These two FEES satellites will pave the way for future constellations of picosatellites devoted to the retrieval of IoT data from ground, starting with a first Cluster mission in 2022 – also partnered with Momentus.
San Francisco Bay area-based, but with a strong commitment to European markets, this represents the second deal with an innovative Italian upstart, following the agreement with ARCA Dynamics and NPC Spacemind in August, for a mission on which GP Advanced Projects is also onboard with the same miniaturized electronics, providing OBC and Telecommunications.
“GP Advanced Projects is doing a tremendous effort to validate its core technology in space, after having successfully achieved on-ground qualification. The partnership with Momentus and the flexibility of the Vigoride shuttle allow us not only to increase the reliability of our platform by performing a second validation mission, but offer us also the possibility to test additional features ahead of schedule with respect to our development roadmap,” said Guido Parissenti, CEO of GP Advanced Projects.
“This deal confirms the ability of Momentus Vigoride shuttle service to offer affordable access to space for even the smallest satellite form factors. Together with the advancements in miniaturization of electronics brought forward by GP Advanced Projects, our transportation system unlocks a whole new range of constellation services to take off the ground – literally,” said Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus.