Sen, a British space company establishing a video streaming service to provide real-time and timely Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video of Earth, and Momentus, a provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, today announced a contract for the orbital deployment of Sen’s first satellite, with an option to launch a further four satellites for Sen in 2022.
Under the agreement, Momentus’ Vigoride orbital transfer vehicles will carry Sen’s satellites to sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) riding on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, with the first launch booked for summer 2021 and a further four satellites scheduled for late 2022. From their drop-off orbits, the Vigorides will deploy the EarthTV satellites to their final desired altitudes. In the case of the cluster of four, Vigoride will also equally distribute the satellites in their orbital plane.
Built by NanoAvionics under a separate contract that was announced in March, the EarthTV satellites are cubesats with a 16U form factor, which makes them the largest payloads contracted to Momentus so far. This is also the first agreement specifically leveraging the orbital maneuvering capabilities of the Vigoride shuttle.
Momentus will test fly the Vigoride transfer vehicle later this year. It is optimized for orbital maneuvers in low Earth orbit such as altitude raising, in plane phasing, change of orbital planes, correction of inclination, and more. Vigoride will commence operations in 2021 with up to three commercial missions by the end of that year. A more capable variant called Ardoride will be introduced in 2022-2023, offering larger capacity as well as the ability to deliver satellites to higher orbits – Geostationary and medium Earth orbits – and even to the Moon.
Founded in 2014, Sen already demonstrated 4K Ultra High Definition video from a satellite with six cameras during its first mission which launched in February 2019, filming both the satellite and wide-angle imagery of Earth with its steerable cameras. Sen’s videos will provide news and information to people who want to explore Earth and follow major events and planetary changes.
The videos will be freely accessible for individuals both online and with a smart phone app. Sen will also provide an open source data platform and premium services for businesses and organizations. Sen’s open source data platform will enable partner organisations to build apps and analytics using the video data with the aim of opening up new markets and uses for space data.
After the launch of Sen’s first five satellites, the company plans to grow its EarthTV constellation in LEO and also place video cameras in other orbits in deep space locations around Earth, the Moon and eventually beyond.
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 Vigoride test mission is planned for December2020 on a SpaceX dedicated rideshare mission to sun-synchronous Orbit (SSO).
Charles Black, Sen Founder and CEO, said the EarthTV constellation of nano-satellites will stream real-time videos from space to smart phones so that everyone can enjoy the unique perspectives of Earth from space. The company is delighted to be working with Momentus for the launch requirements as we share a vision to democratize space for the benefit of humanity. Their launch services are flexible and very attractive for smallsat constellations.
Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus, added that the firm is elated to partner with Sen and kickstart this ambitious Earth gazing project. Sen and Momentus will be ideally positioned with the firm’s family of transfer vehicles for prospective growth.