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Momentus Space

Momentus Space

Momentus is a YC Summer 2018 batch company developing the in-space rockets powered by water plasma engines and based in Santa Clara, CA

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Key Design Fearutres of a Microvwave Electro-Thermal (MET) Thruster showing the TM011 Mode Field Patterna in the Resonant Cavity.
Edits on 11 Sep, 2018
Craig Peterson
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Direct Thrust Measurements of an 8-GHz Microwave Electrothermal Thruster

Jeffrey R. Hopkins, Michael M. Micci, Sven G. Bilén, Senior Member, IEEE, and Silvio G. Chianese

Report on recent experimental results.

History and current status of the microwave electrothermal thruster,

D. E. Clemens, M. M. Micci, and S. G. Bilén

Progress in Propulsion Physics, Torus Press, 2009, pp.425-438 http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009EUCAS...1..425M

Review of work to date2009.

Prospects for microwave heated propulsion

M. M. Micci

AIAA Paper on initial concept.

Craig Peterson"Add references"
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Title
Author
Link
Type

Direct Thrust Measurements of an 8-GHz Microwave Electrothermal Thruster

Jeffrey R. Hopkins, Michael M. Micci, Sven G. Bilén, Senior Member, IEEE, and Silvio G. Chianese

IEEE 2017

History and current status of the microwave electrothermal thruster,

D. E. Clemens, M. M. Micci, and S. G. Bilén

Progress in Propulsion Physics, Torus Press, 2009, pp.425-438

Review of work to date

Edits on 11 Sep, 2018
Craig Peterson
Craig Peterson edited on 11 Sep, 2018
Edits made to:
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Their expert analysis and review of extant literature suggests that at achievable temperatures, specific impulse can approach 1,000 s due to extremely high survivable bulk gas temperature and thermal dissociation of the water molecules to the atomic state. The following figure shows key design features of a Microwave ElectroThermal (MET) thruster showing the TM001TM011 Mode Field Pattern in the resonant cavity. This cavity mode provides excellent power coupling and positions the discharge in an optimal location upstream of the nozzle.

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Key Design Fearutres of a Microvwave Electro-Thermal (MET) Thruster showing the TM001TM011 Mode Field Patterna in the Resonant Cavity.
Craig Peterson
Craig Peterson edited on 10 Sep, 2018
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Link
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Prospects for microwave heated propulsion

M. M. Micci

doi: 10.2514/6.1984-1390

AIAA Paper

Craig Peterson
Craig Peterson edited on 10 Sep, 2018
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As shown in the folling roadmap diagram, with their first orbital flight demonstration planned to be ready for launch in 2019, Momentus technology roadmap starts with the conservative proven technical approaches of the ZealTM and VigorTM technologies that they are quickly adapting for flight. They will be ready to start taking orders for small sat transportation services in Earth orbit for launch as early as 2020 with their ArdorideTM and VigorideTM SmallSat space tugs. By 2021 they plan to be ready with FervorideTM which is a high performance space tug designed deliver a new generation of GEO sats. Their roadmap culminates in ValorideTM a large scale space tug designed to support space manufacturing, asteroid mining and resupply for space hotels. ValorideTM will be the workhorse transportation service that ferries equipment and supplies throughout cislunar space and between LEO, GEO, and the asteroids.

Craig Peterson
Craig Peterson edited on 10 Sep, 2018
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 Artist's conception of the Momentus Ardoride Orbital Transfer Vehicle
...

The next figure shows an image of an S-Band (2.45 GHz) MET operating in the Momentus laboratory using water propellant at a power Level of 3 kW.

...
S-bnad MET Thruster in the Lab.
S-band MET Thruster in the lab.

The above figure shows an image of an S-Band (2.45 GHz) MET operating in the Momentus laboratory using water propellant at a power Level of 3 kW.

Why Water?

Choice of propellant is a primary cost driver, due to chemical properties, handling requirements, storage conditions, and many other factors including the following:

  • Safe and Nontoxic to reduce labor facility costs to built and test propulsion systems and eliminates concern of contamination for ride share payloads.
  • Dense and Easy to Store and Handle at Standard Pressure and Temperature - to eliminate the need for high pressure storage and feed system which in turn enhances safety, reduces tankage mass, and reduces orbital debris risk in case of operational mishap.
  • Inexpensive - Although at today’s satellite prices propellant cost itself is typically a small fraction of total system cost. As system cost comes down, today’s expensive propellants will be an unacceptably high fraction of total system cost.
  • High in Low Atomic Mass Elements as is needed to serve as effective radiation shielding material to allow for synergy in structure design by using the propellant storage tank as both structure and shielding, and
  • Available on the asteroids and planetary surfaces as a form of future proofing against eventual in-situ resource utilization technology and as a way to enable, resupply in space from locally available resources.

Based on these criteria, water is the ideal propellant which is why Momentus has chosen to focus on water based MET as their core technology.

...

WithAs shown in the folling roadmap diagram, with their first orbital flight demonstration planned to be ready for launch in 2019 Momentus technology roadmap starts with the conservative proven technical approaches of the ZealTM and VigorTM technologies that they are quickly adapting for flight. They will be ready to start taking orders for small sat transportation services in Earth orbit for launch as early as 2020 with their ArdorideTM and VigorideTM SmallSat space tugs. By 2021 they plan to be ready with FervorideTM which is a high performance space tug designed deliver a new generation of GEO sats. Their roadmap culminates in ValorideTM a large scale space tug designed to support space manufacturing, asteroid mining and resupply for space hotels. ValorideTM will be the workhorse transportation service that ferries equipment and supplies throughout cislunar space and between LEO, GEO, and the asteroids.

...

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Craig Peterson"Just making sure I don't lose anything!"
Craig Peterson edited on 10 Sep, 2018
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OurTheir expert analysis and review of extant literature suggests that at achievable temperatures, specific impulse can approach 1,000 s due to extremely high survivable bulk gas temperature and thermal dissociation of the water molecules to the atomic state. Rocket propulsion technologists will be interested in Figure The 6following whichfigure shows howkey moleculardesign dissociationfeatures of water serves to increase specific impulse at a givenMicrowave temperatureElectroThermal beyond(MET) thatthruster whichshowing wouldthe beTM001 expectedMode atField 18Pattern gImolin forthe waterresonant bycavity. reducingThis cavity mode provides excellent power coupling and positions the averagedischarge molecularin weightan optimal location upstream of the nozzle.

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Key Design Fearutres of a Microvwave Electro-Thermal (MET) Thruster showing the TM001 Mode Field Patterna in the Resonant Cavity.  This caviz

Rocket propulsion technologists will be interested in this next figure which shows how molecular dissociation of water serves to increase specific impulse at a given temperature beyond that which would be expected at 18 gImol for water by reducing the average molecular weight. The following figure shows a plot of frozen flow, fractional dissociation, and thermal efficiency versus chamber temperature for an expansion ratio of 100:1 with water propellant as modeled in TDK, a two-dimensional kinetic code maintained by Sierra Engineering for combustion simulation. An 8,000 K chamber temperature, which is not unreasonable given data in the literature, yields a specific impulse of about 750 s.

...
Specific impulse (frozen flow), fractional disassociation, and chamber enthalpy to jet efficiency versus temperature for water propellant with an expansion ration of 100.

FigureThe next figure shows an image of an S-Band (2.45 GHz) MET operating in the Momentus laboratory using water propellant at a power Level of 3 kW.

S-bnad MET Thruster in the Lab.
Craig Peterson"Trying to save this so it doesn't keep screwing up my edits!"
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Momentus is developing the in-space rockets powered by water plasma engines and based in Santa Clara, CA

Founded by space entrepreneur Mikhail Kokorich and his partner Lev Khasis in Santa Clara in 2017, Momentus was born out of countless discussions with satellite operators seeking more affordable in space transportation. Momentus is developing in-space propulsion systems powered by microwave electro-thermal (MET) water plasma engines. Momentus Space is the first in-space transportation services company build around high performance water plasma rocket propulsion. Momentus’ water plasma propulsions systems are more efficient and faster than the solutions of the past, but more important, they are far more affordable because water is cheap, non-toxic, safe, and easy to work with. Even more important in the the long term, water based propulsion is utterly future proof and provides a clear path to breaking the ties of space industries to the Earth by allowing easy resupply from the most plentiful resources of space, the asteroids for the time when asteroid mining emerges as a major new industry.

Microwave Elctro-Thermal Propulsion

Based on over 30 years of university research funded by NASA and the US Air Force enhanced by several new patent pending Momentus innovations, Momentus Space’ new microwave electrothermal water propulsion systems use as little as one third the propellant as chemical propulsion systems while delivering payloads as much as three times faster than old school solar electric ion propulsion.

METs are plasma-based electrothermal devices that use Joule heating of a partially ionized gas to heat un-ionized propellant which is then ejected through a converging-diverging nozzle to create thrust in the same manner as chemical rockets. The thruster body itself is a microwave resonant cavity that allows for microwave breakdown of virtually any gas-state propellant. Momentus is specifically developing an MET system that uses water as the propellant in a highly localized region just upstream of the rocket throat. A combination of solar array power and batteries (depending on duty cycle) provides the energy necessary for operation. For thier high power systems the microwave power to drive the system is generated by magnetrons, which are the highest efficiency means of producing radiation from electric power and are highly mature in the terrestrial food preparation and materials processing industries.

Previous academic research and their own in-house development efforts have shown that by carefully injecting the propellant gas with vortex inducing swirl, the gas discharge can be confined on centerline, where the microwave intensity is greatest, thereby inducing a strong radial profile in the gas temperature. Electron temperatures on centerline in the discharge can be as high as 15,000 to 20,000 Kelvin allowing heating of the centerline gas to several thousand Kelvin while the boundary layer temperature of the gas that is in contact with the thruster throat can be within the long life temperature constrains of refractory metals.

Our expert analysis and review of extant literature suggests that at achievable temperatures, specific impulse can approach 1,000 s due to extremely high survivable bulk gas temperature and thermal dissociation of the water molecules to the atomic state. Rocket propulsion technologists will be interested in Figure 6 which shows how molecular dissociation of water serves to increase specific impulse at a given temperature beyond that which would be expected at 18 gImol for water by reducing the average molecular weight.

Key Design Fearutres of a Microvwave Electro-Thermal (MET) Thruster showing the TM001 Mode Field Patterna in the Resonant Cavity.  This caviz

The following figure shows a plot of frozen flow, fractional dissociation, and thermal efficiency versus chamber temperature for an expansion ratio of 100:1 with water propellant as modeled in TDK, a two-dimensional kinetic code maintained by Sierra Engineering for combustion simulation. An 8,000 K chamber temperature, which is not unreasonable given data in the literature, yields a specific impulse of about 750 s.

Specific impulse (frozen flow), fractional disassociation, and chamber enthalpy to jet efficiency versus temperature for water propellant with an expansion ration of 100.

Figure shows an image of an S-Band (2.45 GHz) MET operating in the Momentus laboratory using water propellant at a power Level of 3 kW

Products and Services

With their first orbital flight demonstration planned to be ready for launch in 2019 Momentus technology roadmap starts with the conservative proven technical approaches of the Zeal™ and Vigor™ technologies that they are quickly adapting for flight. They will be ready to start taking orders for small sat transportation services in Earth orbit for launch as early as 2020 with their Ardoride™ and Vigoride™ SmallSat space tugs. By 2021 they plan to be ready with Fervoride™ which is a high performance space tug designed deliver a new generation of GEO sats. Their roadmap culminates in Valoride™ a large scale space tug designed to support space manufacturing, asteroid mining and resupply for space hotels. Valoride™ will be the workhorse transportation service that ferries equipment and supplies throughout cislunar space and between LEO, GEO, and the asteroids.

Current Roadmap of Momentus Propulsion System and Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV)  Development, along with potential applications

Table

Name
Role
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Joel Sercel

Chairman of Advisory Board

Lev Khasis

Co-Founder

Mikhail Kokorich

President and Co-Founder

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