LEO SmallSat Company Building Alternate PNT Inks with Orbiter Firm - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

LEO SmallSat Company Building Alternate PNT Inks with Orbiter Firm

Momentus Inc., a commercial space company offering in-space infrastructure services, and Xona Space Systems, a startup creating a secure and precise PNT satellite service in low-Earth orbit, announced a service agreement to advance Xona’s 2022 Alpha mission.

Xona states that its patent-pending system architecture will offer ten time better accuracy than standard GNSS, as well as stronger signals, encryption and rapid convergence times. Among its features: a low-cost navigation payload that begins with the removal of atomic clocks, relying instead on an onboard GNSS receiver for timing and orbit determination; a simplified signal structure, with only two components; use of the commercial weather data market, supplied by GNSS radio occultation, for atmospheric corrections; and more.

Xona concept
Xona concept, possible architecture of a LEO navigation service.  Courtesy Xona.

[Image above: Momentus Vigoride spacecraft.]

The Momentus Vigoride spacecraft has been designed, according to that company, to be capable of launching on most large, mid-sized, and small rockets thanks to its compatibility with many modern launch interfaces such as ESPA Grande. Once in orbit carrying satellite or cargo, it will be able to change orbital planes, adjust inclination, and deliver to altitudes up to 2,000km. Vigoride will be designed to be refueled in-orbit, enabling multiple cargo missions between orbits and a suite of in-orbit services, such as docking, refueling, satellite repositioning, life extension, deorbiting, repairing, and inspection.

“We have been very impressed with the capabilities and services that Momentus offers with their Vigoride spacecraft,” said Xona CEO Brian Manning. “There is a rapidly growing demand for higher performance navigation and timing services as well as alternatives to GNSS. Forming this partnership with Momentus represents a key milestone in our technology development roadmap as we work towards our on-orbit demonstration and deployment of the full constellation to meet these needs.”