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Momentus Performs First Orbit Raise With Orbital Service Vehicle 

By Rachel Jewett | May 8, 2023

An image showing the view from Vigoride-5 as it passes over a ground station in Antarctica. Photo: Momentus

Momentus has successfully demonstrated its propulsion system that uses distilled water as propellant, reporting the first orbital raise of its orbital service vehicle (OSV). 

The company announced Monday that the maneuvers raised the altitude of the Vigoride orbital service vehicle by more than 3 kilometers, a key goal for the mission. The Vigoride-5 OSV was launched in January on the SpaceX Transporter-6 mission

The Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET) is the primary propulsion method for the Vigoride. It uses a solar powered, microwave energy source to generate a hot plasma at its core that heats the propellant to generate thrust. 

CTO Rob Schwarz said Momentus has completed more than 35 firings, from 30 seconds up to six minutes, which is the operational length. He said it has accomplished more than 140 minutes of firing time. 

“We have now operated the MET successfully in space at full power across the range of durations for firing that we plan to use operationally to deliver satellites to precise, custom orbits and to provide in-space infrastructure services like hosted payloads,” said Schwarz. “The MET has shown its ability to operate as intended to perform these missions in space, and we look forward to using it to support commercial and U.S. government customers.”