Space video streaming company Sen awards Momentus orbital deployment contract
(13 May 2020 - Sen) Sen, a British space company establishing a video streaming service to provide real-time and timely Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video of Earth, and Momentus, a provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, today announced a contract for the orbital deployment of Sen’s first satellite, with an option to launch a further four satellites for Sen in 2022.
“Our EarthTV constellation of nano-satellites will stream real-time videos from space to smart phones so that everyone can enjoy the unique perspectives of Earth from space,” said Charles Black, Sen Founder and CEO. “We are delighted to be working with Momentus for our launch requirements because we share a vision to democratize space for the benefit of humanity. Momentus’s launch services are flexible and very attractive for nano-satellite constellations.”
Under the agreement, Momentus’ Vigoride orbital transfer vehicles will carry Sen’s satellites to sun-synchronous orbit riding on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, with the first launch booked for summer 2021 and a further four satellites scheduled for late 2022. From their drop-off orbits, the Vigorides will deploy the EarthTV satellites to their final desired altitudes. In the case of the cluster of four, Vigoride will also equally distribute the satellites in their orbital plane.
Built by NanoAvionics under a separate contract that was announced in March, the EarthTV satellites are cubesats with a 16U form factor, which makes them the largest payloads contracted to Momentus so far. This is also the first agreement specifically leveraging the orbital maneuvering capabilities of the Vigoride shuttle.
“We are delighted to partner with Sen and kickstart this ambitious Earth gazing project,” said Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus. “Sen and Momentus will be ideally positioned with our family of transfer vehicles for prospective growth.”
Momentus will test fly the Vigoride transfer vehicle later this year. It is optimized for orbital maneuvers in low Earth orbit such as altitude raising, in plane phasing, change of orbital planes, correction of inclination, and more. Vigoride will commence operations in 2021 with up to three commercial missions by the end of that year. A more capable variant called Ardoride will be introduced in 2022-2023, offering larger capacity as well as the ability to deliver satellites to higher orbits - Geostationary and medium Earth orbits - and even to the Moon.
Founded in 2014, Sen already demonstrated 4K Ultra High Definition video from a satellite with six cameras during its first mission which launched in February 2019, filming both the satellite and wide-angle imagery of Earth with its steerable cameras. Sen's videos will provide news and information to people who want to explore Earth and follow major events and planetary changes. The videos will be freely accessible for individuals both online and with a smart phone app. Sen will also provide an open source data platform and premium services for businesses and organisations. Sen’s open source data platform will enable partner organisations to build apps and analytics using the video data with the aim of opening up new markets and uses for space data. After the launch of Sen’s first five satellites it plans to grow its EarthTV consetllation in Low Earth Orbit, and also place video cameras in other orbits in deep space locations around Earth, the Moon and eventually beyond.
A graduate of the prestigious Y Combinator program and based in Santa Clara, California, Momentus announced a $25.5MM Series A raise last year, bringing total funding to nearly $50M. Momentus employs new and proprietary technologies, including water plasma propulsion to enable revolutionary low cost orbital shuttle and charter services. The prototype of the Vigoride vehicle, “El Camino Real”, was launched and tested last year. The first Vigoride test mission is planned for December2020 on a SpaceX dedicated rideshare mission to sun-synchronous Orbit (SSO).
Momentus is the first company providing in-space transportation services for satellites. The company was founded in 2017 in Santa Clara, CA. Momentus designs and builds transfer vehicles propelled by proprietary water plasma thrusters. The vehicles ferry satellites to a custom orbit after they are delivered by conventional rockets to their initial orbit. Momentus is a 60 person team growing rapidly.
Sen is a video streaming service, founded in 2014 by Charles Black with a vision to democratize space using video to inform, educate, inspire and benefit all humanity. Sen’s mission is to stream real-time videos from space to billions of people, gathering news and information about Earth and space and making it universally accessible. Sen will capture its unique video content using both hosted video cameras and its own constellations of small satellites. Pronounced as a word rather than individual letters, Sen is an acronym for ‘space exploration network’. Sen is based in London, United Kingdom.