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Satnews Daily
July 25th, 2018

Water to Push Satellites Into Orbit — That's the Plan by Momentus Space and Partner ECM Space

Momentus recently signed a partnership agreement with ECM Space as a launch provider for the first on orbit test of microwave electrothermal plasma propulsion with water as a propellant in Q1 2019.

Momentus’ revolutionary water plasma propulsion technologies and spacecraft platforms with high ∆V capabilities will enable ECM clients to deliver payloads from LEO and GTO to GEO, Moon orbit and beyond.

Momentus is engaged in new propulsion technologies and the firm's transportation services will simultaneously power, and be powered by, deep space resource utilization, ushering in a new era of movement within the solar system. The company is doing this by developing the first, in-space rockets powered by water plasma engines. These rockets use solar energy to heat water with microwaves as high as the sun’s surface temperature, ejecting superheated gas through the nozzle to create thrust.

ECM Space is a European launch services provider and cluster integrator and, according to the firm, offers easy and regular access to space for smallsats. Over the past year, ECM Space has arranged launches for more than 40 international smallsats to SSO and is set to launch 60+ international smallsats in the 2018 to 2019 time frame. With a variety of launch opportunities and focusing on an individual approach to each satellite, ECM Space provides the most optimal launch solutions for start-ups, universities, commercial companies, space agencies and scientific institutions. Supplementary to the launch services, ECM Space designs and manufactures in-house 12U/16U cubesat launch deployers and develops low-shock separation systems for smallsats.

Executive Comments

ECM Space CEO Dmitry Bogdanov said that the propulsion technology Momentus is developing is perfectly suited for low cost access to orbits higher than LEO. Use of low pressure water as a propellant unlocks the potential for ride share launches and dramatically reduces the price of access to GEO/Lunar Orbit/Deep Space for smallsats. ECM plans to actively use Momentus’ high ∆V capable platforms to deliver payloads for customers beyond LEO.

MOMENTUS President Mikhail Kokorich noted that because ECM Space is an experienced launch provider and smallsat player, they are an excellent partner for the solutions Momentus is developing. The firm is planning to jointly develop rideshare options for clients who would like to deliver payloads to destinations currently unreachable by smallsats.