Artist's rendering of Momentus' Vigoride Extended space transportation vehicle releasing a payload in its new orbit. Credit: Cosma Schema

SAN FRANCISCO – Momentus, a Silicon Valley in-space transportation startup, raised $25.5 million in its Series A funding round announced July 17.

With the new funding, Momentus plans to speed up development and testing of its Vigoride and Vigoride Extended shuttles to move small satellites from one orbit to another.

Prime Movers Lab led the investment round, which included contributions from Y Combinator, the Lerner Family, the University of Wyoming Foundation, Quiet Capital, Mountain Nazca, ACE & Company, Liquid 2 Ventures and Drake Management. Momentus raised $8.3 million in seed funding in 2018, bringing its total funding to date to nearly $34 million.

Momentus, a company established in 2017 in Santa Clara, California, is building two transportation vehicles: Vigoride to move satellites within low Earth orbit and Vigoride Extended to move satellites from low Earth orbit to geostationary transfer or geostationary orbit. Momentus vehicles are powered by an affordable and efficient water plasma thruster, Mikhail Kokorich, Momentus founder and CEO, said July 11 at the Space Tech Summit in Santa Clara.

Momentus launched its first demonstration mission July 5 on a Russian Soyuz rocket alongside dozens of small satellites and Russia’s Meteor M2-2 weather satellite. Kokorich declined to comment on that ongoing demonstration.

“In the past 18 months, Momentus has rapidly matured their water plasma propulsion system to deliver the world’s safest and most affordable in-space transportation services,” Dakin Sloss, Prime Movers Lab founder and general partner, said in a statement. “They recently launched their first demonstration and are on track to radically reshape the landscape of the space economy.”

Momentus is preparing to expand its staff, research and manufacturing facilities. The company is moving most of its development in-house and investing in vertical integration, Kokorich said.

Momentus plans to conduct Vigoride demonstration flights in 2020. With the additional funding, the company is planning “a semi-experimental mission that will prove our technology while generating our first revenue,” Kokorich said.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...