Space tug to test out robotic arm on 2022 demonstration mission

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Two space companies are teaming up on a planned 2022 mission that could help open up the off-Earth economy.California-based Momentus and Made In Space Europe (MIS EU) have finalized a memorandum of understanding to develop the flight to Earth orbit, the companies announced last week. If all goes according to plan, Momentus’ Vigoride space tug will be outfitted with one of MIS EU’s advanced robotic arms, which “will perform cooperative capture and manipulation of microsatellites,” MIS EU representatives said in a statement.Related: Electric-powered lunar space tug could facilitate future moon missions”This demonstration mission will provide us with an understanding of how robotic arms can improve in-space transportation,” Jaroslaw Jaworski, general manager of Luxembourg-based MIS EU, said in the statement. “We are looking to critically evaluate the viability of these two highly advanced, commercial technologies working within a fully integrated system.” Momentus is developing space tugs powered by water plasma thrusters. These spacecraft are designed to get satellites to a variety of custom orbits, carrying them from the initial orbits that their rockets provide.Vigoride, which is scheduled to fly for the first time late this year, is just one member of the Momentus line. The company is developing …

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