Stay home and safe, join our new video tour to Momentus facility in Silicon Valley. Momentus uses water-plasma propulsion technology for taking satellites from where the rockets drop them off to a custom orbit. Last summer the company has launched its first demonstration mission from Vostochny spaceport and going to fly with two more demo-missions in 2020.
Interview with Momentus VP Negar Feher – updates, news, and plans of the spacecraft bus operator
Andrey Maksimov: Here we are. Hi, Negar. It’s February 2020 now. Last time we were here more than 8 months ago, so it seems like a lot of things have changed. You had a technical mission last year, fundraised a crazy amount of money, grew your team and made some progress on your main product, which is Vigoride.
We would love to have an update from you into delivering orbital customers. We do it as part of our #knowyouroptions campaign where we basically are building software that helps people understand their launch options, and how to figure out a space mission. So, we’d really love to know what’s new in your shop here and what’s going on.
Modularity Space is developing low-cost modular reusable satellites that can be repaired, refueled, and upgraded in space, calling this innovative approach “Click-and-GO”. Scott Weintraub founded the company based in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2016. Inspired by desktop computers, Modularity Space satellites and flight software revolve around interoperability allowing both subsystems and payloads to simply click together and work.
“This “Click-and-GO” approach enables a completely mission flexible, hardware-agnostic, software-defined satellite,” says Nolan Coulter, Chief Technology Officer at Modularity Space. “Imagine being able to completely interface, test, and operate your payload or satellite with a simple click of a button.”
Bringing the “Click-and-GO” satellite into production is a team of engineers and entrepreneurs with an extensive background in on-orbit servicing, modular satellites, and flight software. In our new #knowyouroptions interview, Precious Payload spoke to Scott and Nolan about the advantages of the modular approach in satellite development.
With the support of Precious Payload’s launch booking and space mission management platform, Pixxel, an Indian space startup based in Bengaluru, has signed a launch contract with GK Launch Services, an operator of commercial launches of Soyuz-2 family launch vehicles. Under the agreement, the first tech demo mission of Pixxel to be launched in Q2-Q3 2020 from Baikonur spaceport on GK-operated Soyuz-2 rocket.
Pixxel is building a constellation of Earth imaging satellites to provide global coverage every 24 hours. The startup is the only Asian participant in the Techstars Starbust Space Accelerator where it is working with JPL NASA, US Air Force, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and IAI among other space stalwarts.
Interview with Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus
At the beginning of the summer, we have had an amazing tour to Momentus facilities, a space tug factory in Silicon Valley. We continue our #knowyouroptions series to feature NewSpace entrepreneurs and inspire more people to join the space race with an interesting conversation with Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus. She has taken us on a tour, has introduced the team, and has given us a big #knowyouroptions interview.
In early June our partners, California-based startup Momentus, invited Precious Payload team to their factory. Momentus is a developing in-space shuttle service, using safe water-plasma propulsion technology, for taking satellites from where the rockets drop them off to a custom orbit. Negar Feher, VP of Product and Business Development of Momentus, has taken us on a tour, has introduced the team, and has given us a big #knowyouroptions interview.
LOGAN, UTAH, August 2, 2019, — Precious Payload, now a digital service to manage space missions, announces the pre-seed funding round led by a UAE-based investment firm Forte Mare.
Precious Payload was founded in the USA back in 2017 as a launch booking platform for small satellites. Since then it has connected over 100 space missions to over 25 launch providers through its online service, generating several hundred thousand US dollars of revenue in subscriptions and commissions. This August, the company announces it is changing its business model to deliver complete mission management via an online platform.
«We had an idea of building a digital freight-forwarder since the early days but decided to focus on launch to prove our software-only approach. The current hype cycle of investment in hardware will end soon, and the market will try to leverage technology to create sustainable businesses. Digital service to fast-track a tech demo or get to the revenue is an ideal way to build a space business.» — says Andrey Maksimov, the company’s CEO.
«Imagine a team of experts that runs those RFI/RFPs for you, navigates through various launch scenarios, connects ground stations, deals with all the paperwork and licenses. Now wrap this all into the online service that keeps everyone on the same page and visualizes all the current and next steps to get your business into space. This is what we are building here.» — says Daria Ryzhkova, the company Chief Product Officer.
To showcase the advantages of the new product, Precious Payload features a first client of the new approach. Pixxel, a satellite constellation and the only Asian participant in an inaugural Techstars Starburst accelerator led by US Air Force, has entrusted Precious Payload to manage their first tech demo mission to be launched in Q4 2020. «Working with the team behind Precious Payload is like a breath of fresh air. You are always aware of what is going on, what are the next steps, what are your options. It enables us to liberate more time and resources to talk to our customers and build our product.» — says Awais Ahmed, the CEO of Pixxel.
Precious Payload delivers the service through the range of industry partners, including Momentus Space, GK Launch Services, Orbital Transports, and others to be announced soon. The company hosts a side meeting on Wednesday, Aug 6, to present the roadmap of the product.
«The team behind Precious Payload has a great track record of building successful cross-border online businesses in regulated industries. We think software companies in Smallsat sector have a unique opportunity to deliver the service globally while keeping overheads low and outpacing the traditional hardware approach.» — says Mike Afonskiy, an asset manager of Forte Mare fund.
Forte Mare is a private investment vehicle, based in the United Arab Emirates and deploying capital into both private equity and public markets. The fund leads the investment round of undisclosed amount into Precious Payload, which has also been supported by the number of international angel investors.
Why so many entrepreneurs are secretly dreaming about starting a business in space and so few are ending up with building a company? Our guess – wrong thinking ruins many of the great ideas: those who never tried to launch anything to space tend to think that industry barriers are still enormous, launch options are limited to direct injections and a few American, Indian and Russian launch vehicles exist. While the reality is blooming with options and opportunities.
Problem: They say you have to wait up to two years to get the right flight for your specific orbit 🤷♀️ 🤷♂️.
Solution: ION Carrier is a free-flying CubeSat dispenser capable of delivering satellites to higher altitudes, different orbits, and orbital planes. It is compatible with all the existing launch vehicles and extends current launchers capabilities. Hence you have a wider variety of launches to choose from!