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Momentus concedes its Vigoride tug will probably not be able to deploy more satellites

Capitalism in space: Momentus yesterday conceded that because of the problems that have dogged the first flight of its Vigoride tug, it will probably not be able to deploy the remaining smallsats on board.

Previously the company had said that communications issues were interfering with deployment. This update revealed that the tug’s solar arrays had also not opened as intended.

After initially experiencing these anomalies, we were able to deploy two customer satellites from Vigoride on May 28. Since that time, we have continued efforts to deploy other customer satellites, but have not confirmed any subsequent deployments. While we previously established two-way communications with the Vigoride vehicle, we have not been able to continue such two-way communication, which we believe is due to the low power situation on the vehicle due to the deployable solar arrays not operating as intended.

Though this update is very unclear on this point, it appears that Vigoride was able to deploy three objects in total, or a total of six smallsats. How many additional smallsats failed to deploy is not clear.

The company plans its next launch in November, with additional launches next year.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


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  • Col Beausabre

    This made me wonder what happened to the pioneer satellites. Looks like, except for Vanguard, they took care of things very neatly themselves. I hesitate to describe Vanguard 1 as “space junk” due to its historic importance.

    Sputnik 1 “The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik 1 burned up on 4 January 1958 while reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after three months, 1,440 completed orbits of the Earth, and a distance travelled of about 70,000,000 km (43,000,000 mi).”

    Sputnik 2 “On 10 November, the batteries in the spacecraft ran out and all data transmission ceased, after 150 separate telemetry sessions. Sputnik 2 reentered the atmosphere on 14 April 1958 after 162 days in space and about 2500 orbits. Reentry was sighted from the east coast of the United States and surviving debris impacted in the Amazon region of South America.”

    Explorer 1 “The original expected lifetime of the satellite before orbital decay was three years. Mercury batteries powered the high-power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days. Explorer 1 stopped transmission of data on 23 May 1958, when its batteries died, but remained in orbit for more than 12 years. It reentered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on 31 March 1970 after more than 58,400 orbits.”

    “Vanguard 1 (Harvard designation: 1958-Beta 2, COSPAR ID: 1958-005B) is an American satellite that was the fourth artificial Earth-orbiting satellite to be successfully launched (following Sputnik 1, Sputnik 2, and Explorer 1); it was launched 17 March 1958. Vanguard 1 was the first satellite to have solar electric power. Although communications with the satellite were lost in 1964, it remains the oldest human-made object still in orbit, together with the upper stage of its launch vehicle”

    I remembered from a book my aunt bought me, as a schoolboy, that it was supposed to be in orbit for thousands of years, but that has been revised significantly downward

    “Original estimates had the orbit lasting for 2,000 years, but it was discovered that solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag during high levels of solar activity produced significant perturbations in the perigee height of the satellite, which caused a significant decrease in its expected lifetime to about 240 years.”

    It would be nice if it could be recovered and exhibited in a museum instead of being de-orbited

  • jeff

    A space tug company is not able to rescue its own satellite? They are not even mentioning making an effort?

  • MDN

    So this mission was a successful failure. Not a surprise for a new venture early in development, and overall quite promising for where they’re headed. Nothing to get to wrankled up about imho, they’ll learn from the partial failure and do better next time. This is how we get better, at least in less than geologic (or NASA) time: Ready, fire, aim!

    A person who never makes a mistake is someone who never does anything.

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