With a succession of announcements made prior to the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany, Morpheus Space is expanding well beyond its roots as the German university spinoff. Morpheus, which is a German propulsion business with a Los Angeles office, has launched the Sphere ecosystem, a collection of devices designed to operate together to lower the complexity and cost of satellite constellation activities.
A fresh nontoxic propellant, space mission software, plug-and-play autopilot, and a web application to assist clients examine and purchasing the new products are all part of the Sphere line. Morpheus Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Daniel Bock told SpaceNews, “We aim to render space accessible to a large audience.” “We want to move away from having only a small, high-tech group of people who understand space and toward a more application-oriented use of space.”
After demonstrating that the Nano Field-Effect Electric Propulsion or the NanoFEEP thrusters could propel cubesats into orbit, Morpheus gained investment as well as high-profile backers in 2020. MultiFEEP, which is a thruster which integrates 7 NanoFEEP thrusters with extra thrust vectoring characteristics, is also available from Morpheus.
Morpheus’ core business is propulsion systems, but rather than merely selling components, the firm created a line of goods and services to make the process of choosing, paying for, and operating thrusters easier.
Morpheus launched the following products on November 11:
- Sphere Go: NanoFEEP and MultiFEEP electric propulsion systems;
- Sphere Direct: a platform-agnostic, plug-and-play autopilot;
- Sphere Flow: Constellation mission design software-as-a-service;
- Sphere Safe: A satellite component hardware-as-a-service cost model; and
- Sphere Gateway: A online application that guides users through the product’s life cycle, from initial exposure to the satellite operations.
Morpheus’ new unique metal alloy propellant for NanoFEEP and MultiFEEP is non-corrosive, non-toxic, and requires no special transportation or handling, according to Bock. It’s also meant to provide satellites with a continuous push for more than five years. Morpheus has established a cost model to assure customers pay around $1,000 for every propulsion module because few spacecraft in low Earth orbit require that much thrust.
Morpheus president and co-founder István Lrincz explained, “This is the upfront fee.” “Then you have the option of paying on demand for propulsion system utilization or opting for a subscription model, in which you effectively get a financial plan for propellant or even movability for a set period.” It’s similar to a mobile phone deal that guarantees a particular amount of data flow, according to Lrincz. Morpheus is urging other satellite component makers to join the subscription model after putting in a lot of effort to develop it.
“The lower upfront costs, as well as the shift in thinking, are the upsides for our customers,” Lrincz said. “Propulsion isn’t a bonus or an add-on. It’s something like ground stations that has to add to the company’s bottom line. You wouldn’t be able to make money if you didn’t have ground stations.” After consulting with satellite constellation manufacturers to comprehend their demands, Morpheus created the Sphere ecosystem.