Momentus plans to offer space for technology demonstrations, qualification missions and short-term demonstrations in its Vigoride transfer vehicle. Hosted payload experiments can be conducted in the Vigoride transfer vehicle after it finishes its primary job of moving customer payloads from the point in orbit where their rocket drops them off to their ultimate destinations. Credit: Momentus

Update: This article was updated at 5:20 Eastern time with comments from Momentus CEO Mikhail Kokorich.

SAN FRANCISCO – In-space transportation startup Momentus Space announced plans Oct. 7 to become a publicly traded company through a merger with Stable Road Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company.

Since it was founded in 2017, Momentus has attracted dozens of customers by offering to transport satellites from the point where a large rocket drops them off in orbit to their desired orbital destination. Momentus plans to demonstrate that capability with its Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle later this year.

In recent months, Momentus has expanded its staff and business line to include hosting payloads and capturing satellites already in orbit with a robotic arm the firm is developing with Made In Space Europe, a Redwire subsidiary.

Through the merger and public offering, Momentus hopes to obtain capital to speed up development of its family of space tugs. In addition to Vigoride, Momentus is developing Ardoride, a vehicle to move small and medium-size satellites to custom orbits, and Fevoride, a vehicle to move “dozens of tons of cargo anywhere in outer space,”  according to the Momentus website.

Space companies have struggled for many years to raise capital, which makes it difficult for them to develop vehicles as quickly as large companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, Mikhail Kokorich, Momentus founder and CEO, told SpaceNews.

“We need to to develop our larger vehicles at the same pace SpaceX is developing Starship and Blue Origin is developing New Glenn,” Kokorich said. “With the capital we will raise from this transaction, we’ll be able to move much faster on Ardoride and Fevoride to augment the capability of those big rockets to move stuff.”

Momentus and Stable Road directors approved the merger, which is subject to the approval of regulators and company stockholders. The deal is expected to conclude by early 2021. Then, Momentus shares would trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock symbol MNTS.

“Momentus is at the forefront of the new space economy and is poised to capitalize on the significant growth opportunity,” Kokorich said in a statement. “Our mission is to provide the infrastructure services that support all industry beyond Earth.

Brian Kabot, Stable Road chairman and CEO, said in a statement, “We set out to identify a disruptive company and Momentus was the most unique and compelling opportunity to create value through our investment, as we believe the Company is primed to be a leader in the rapidly growing new space economy.”

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...