Masten Space’s XA-0.1B-750 Vehicle Completes First Flight
While the vehicle was attached to a safety tether, it took off, ascended a few meters, descended, and shut down its engine as designed. The instant the engine shut off the entire team yelled, “YES!”
“This is the first big step to providing fully reusable spaceflight,” said company CEO
The vehicle is fitted with a liquid-fueled rocket engine running on isopropyl alcohol and liquid oxygen designed in house at Masten Space Systems. “While there are a few tweaks we plan on making, these engines are performing well enough to be ready for commercial customers,” said propulsion engineer
The engine is capable of putting out 850 pounds of force. The vehicle is stabilized by a two-axis main engine gimbal and four reaction control thrusters. The engine can point 15 degrees away from the vehicle centerline, more than four times as far as most competitors.
This vehicle was refitted from a four-engine test vehicle in one month, and the reaction control thrusters and computer system were developed in less than two weeks.
“This program has demonstrated the agility of our small team when presented with an interesting challenge,” said project manager
Masten anticipates that payload space on low altitude commercial flights will be available by the end of 2009. “We’re happy to provide payload space for research, Technology Readiness Level acceleration, or quality assurance. This flight, along with our Department of Defense SBIR contract, represents a significant new phase for the company,” said
*About Masten Space Systems*
Masten Space Systems is an aerospace R&D company developing fully reusable VTVL launch vehicles, rocket-related products, and engineering services located on the Mojave Air and Space Port. The company focuses on durability, long operational lifetimes, and minimal per-flight maintenance. For more information see http://masten-space.com/
Contact: Masten Space Systems Michael Mealling +1-678-640-6884 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.masten-space.com/
SOURCE Masten Space Systems, Inc.