Vigoride-6 Spacecraft Arrives at Launch Pad

| Transport

The Momentus team with Vigoride-6 before shipping the Orbital Service Vehicle to Vandenberg Space Force Base for launch

After undergoing its final flight testing programme, the vehicle is in place ready for its launch scheduled for April

The Momentus Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) has arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base for its third demonstration mission targeted to launch on the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission next month.

The Momentus team completed final flight preparations, and the Vigoride-6 OSV is integrated with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The priorities of this mission include delivering payloads for a number of commercial users of space, including NASA.

“Vigoride-6 will mark our third OSV mission and we’re delighted to have NASA as a customer on this flight as we deliver two payloads for their NASA LLITED mission to a custom orbit and provide orbital transportation services for several commercial customers,” explains a Momentus spokesman.

Continued Testing

In addition to customer payload deployments, the Vigoride-6 mission will focus on continued testing of the OSV in space, including the Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET) that is designed to use water as a propellant and produce thrust by expelling extremely hot gases through a rocket nozzle. Vigoride-6 will also carry a Momentus payload called the Tape Spring Solar Array (TASSA) technology. TASSA features large sheets of flexible solar cells bonded to tape springs. To stow, they are tightly coiled around a mandrel. After launch, motors unroll the mandrel, deploying the solar array. TASSA can coil around a 4″ diameter mandrel, compared to the 12″ ones used for other rollout solar arrays.

Momentus has applied to patent the principles behind TASSA and once the development is complete, the technology could reduce the overall recurring production cost of a Vigoride while reducing lead time by several months. These are important improvements in the transition from Vigoride development to production at lower unit costs.

Momentus launched its inaugural mission in May 2022. That mission deployed eight customer payloads from the Vigoride-3 vehicle and a third-party deployer. Vigoride-5, the Company’s second demonstration mission, launched in January 2023.

Jonathan Newell
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