Momentus and Alba Orbital have announced a contract for three Alba Albapods to ride on plaza deck of the Falcon 9 vehicle, which will launch in December 2020 from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Alba Orbital is actively working with customers to launch clusters to their mission requirements via PocketQube deployers suitable for 1p, 1.5p, 2p or 3p PocketQube format smallsats. A PocketQube is a type of smallsat for space research that usually has a size of 5 cm cubed (one eighth the volume of a cubesat), has a mass of no more than 250 grams per unit, or ‘p.’
Alba Orbital’s PocketQube satellites are integrated into the Albapod deployers and mounted alongside Vigoride onto the ESPA Grande ring interface provided by SpaceX on their dedicated rideshare missions. Momentus is enabling Alba Orbital to have a regular launch cadence and mission flexibility in the future to ensure drop off orbital altitudes where their customers need it.
Based in Glasgow, Scotland, and Berlin, Germany, Alba Orbital wants to get more people building and launching their own satellites by democratizing access to space via the PocketQube standard. They provide a hub of support for PocketQube satellites by building their own platforms as well as ground stations and launch services to companies, universities and space agencies around the world. Momentus’ flexible shuttle service is a perfect complement to Alba’s offering.
A graduate of the prestigious Y Combinator program and based in Santa Clara, California, Momentus announced a $25.5 million Series A raise last year, bringing total funding to nearly $50 million. Momentus employs new and proprietary technologies, including water plasma propulsion to enable revolutionary low cost orbital shuttle and charter services. The prototype of the Vigoride vehicle, “El Camino Real,” was launched and tested last year. The first full-scale Vigoride test mission is planned for Q4 of 2020 on the SpaceX dedicated rideshare mission.
Tom Walkinshaw, CEO and Founder of Alba Orbital, said the company is very excited to be partnering with Momentus on their first rideshare mission in December, where we plan to deploy a record number of PocketQubes in orbit. The flexibility which Momentus offers enables access to proven rocket platforms, increasing mission reliability and performance.
Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus, added Alba Orbital is a key partner for Momentus, enabling the company to service PocketQube customers with demonstration missions in form factors even smaller than cubesats. The firm looks forward to launching 10 PocketQubes in December as well as many more in the near future.