Featured Image Source: Momentus Vigoride spacecraft
FOSSA Systems, a Picosatellite manufacturer, announced on September 2, it selected Momentus Vigoride spacecraft to provide in-space shuttle service for its tiny satellites. Momentus stated it signed a deal with SpaceX to deploy Vigoride carrying nine FOSSA PocketQube satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket rideshare mission scheduled for February 2021.
PocketQubes are very small measuring around five centimeters each, several can be attached to create satellites of different sizes (pictured below). The Falcon 9 rocket will deploy Momentus Vigoride spacecraft to orbit. Vigoride will then ferry the small PocketQubes satellites in space towards its operational orbit. The Chief Executive Officer at Momentus Mikhail Kokorich said in a statement:
“Momentus welcomes FOSSA Systems into our growing family of customers. This new partnership demonstrates the versatility of the Vigoride shuttle service to deploy the widest range of spacecraft, from PocketQubes to smallsats.”
“FOSSA is very pleased to be partnering with Momentus in these initial steps, we are looking forward to working with Momentus to establish a stable low-cost orbital access service for the long-run,” the Chief Executive Officer at FOSSA Julian Fernandez wrote in a press release by the company.
Despite of being miniature satellites, the PocketQubes that will be launched to space by SpaceX are equipped with a wide range of technology, including a propulsion system to assess in space, a set of cameras to observe Earth, and weather monitoring sensors. A trio of PocketQubes will even feature the capability to beam internet communications. A more detailed overview of the PocketQubes' features is described by FOSSA Systems below:
CSHARKPILOT-1 (FOSSASAT-2E) “is a 2P satellite manufactured by FOSSA to house an Internet of things (IoT) payload by Italian technological provider CShark. This satellite aims to experiment with LoRa nodes processed through their turnkey Pongo user interface for visualizations and big data analysis.”
LAIKA (FOSSASAT-2B)”Is a 2P satellite manufactured by FOSSA and carrying an innovative new propulsion system. In partnership with Stockholm start-up porkchop, LAIKA will be using their structurally-embedded electric propulsion system.“
Challenger “is a 3P Earth Observation and Communications satellite made using Windform, a carbon based material from CRP Technology. Challenger is designed by US based Mini-Cubes Space Development.”
SanoSat-1 is a “1P amateur satellite developed by ORIONSpace in Nepal to experiment with Radiation monitoring and a HAM digipeater.”
TRSI3 is a “1P amateur satellite developed to test an experimental SSTV imaging downlink and amateur downlink beacon.”
Canary Hatchling is a “1P satellite developed by Care Weather Technologies, located in Utah, USA. Hatchling is an early pathfinder mission for Care Weather’s future cubesat constellation, which will map global oceanic vector winds on an hourly basis. The Hatchling mission provides in-orbit testing for Care Weather’s vertically integrated satellite bus.”
FOSSASAT-2C, FOSSASAT-2D and FOSSASAT-2F – “Three dedicated FOSSA satellites will be the first of a constellation to provide LoRa-based IoT [Low-Range based internet-of-things] communications. These are second generation 2P satellites aimed at providing a high performance PocketQube platform for dedicated constellations and low-cost in-orbit demonstration. This new platform has 1P of payload space, can provide up to 9 watts of solar power, has full ADCS pointing capability and multiple storage/processing options.”