Momentus, an in-space transportation company, says it is nearing completion of a national security accord that will allow it to get the licenses it needs for its maiden voyage. Momentus executives stated on November 9 that they are focusing on regulatory and technical fronts toward a very first deployment of its Vigoride tug on the SpaceX rideshare expedition in June 2022, in their first quarterly earnings since finalizing a merger with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) in August.
Momentus sought to fly its initial Vigoride tugs on subsequent SpaceX rideshare missions in June and January of this year, but Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) denied the vehicle’s payload clearance, citing Defense Department concerns about the company’s Russian co-founders and owners. Momentus agreed to pay $40 million for those co-founders’ shares and to engage in the national security agreement (NSA) together with federal government to resolve those concerns.
In an earnings call, Momentus CEO John Rood stated, “Momentus has already made great headway on NSA deployment.” He claimed the corporation had completed the “bulk” of the 62 discrete items under the agreement and was making work on the remaining things. “While this will need a significant upfront investment since many legacy IT systems as well as internal procedures will be replaced with new ones,” he added. “However, we believe that careful implementation will result in a solid regulatory structure around the company and its activities.”
Later in the call, Rood expressed confidence that the remaining work on the NSA will be done in time for the company to deploy its first Vigoride in the mid-2022. He stated, “We feel confident about our chances of flying in June.” “We’ll need to do some more work between currently and then, but we feel we’ll be on track.”
The business announced on October 20 that it has inked a new launch service deal with SpaceX to fly a Vigoride tug on the Transporter-5 dedicated rideshare flight in June 2022. That launch, however, will be contingent on its ability to properly install the NSA and obtain the necessary licenses.
The Vigoride 3 tug, which will deploy on that mission, is currently being built by the company. After system-level tests, Rood stated the vehicle is undertaking “some rework” in preparation for thermal vacuum testing. He stated, “We anticipate Vigoride 3 to be properly competent in the very first part of the year, ahead of our planned inaugural launch.”
That mission will primarily serve as a vehicle demonstration, though it will also transport some client payloads and make a “little bit” of income, according to him. “However, the mission’s principal objectives are to test Vigoride in space, learn from any challenges we face, and take critical steps toward proving the viability of the initial market offering.”