Masten Space Systems’ Progress on NASA’s Lunar CATALYST Program

Masten rocket, Xodiac, launches out of Mojave Air and Space Port carrying JHU APL electromagnetic field measurement experiment. (Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich)

Masten Space Systems is one of three companies NASA has signed agreements with for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) program.

“The purpose of the Lunar CATALYST initiative is for NASA to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering small (30 to 100 kg) and medium (250 to 500 kg) class payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities,” the agreement states.

“This no-funds-exchanged Space Act Agreement (SAA) with the Partner enables provision and coordination of NASA in-kind contributions at no cost to the Partner, of NASA civil servant technical expertise, access to NASA test facilities, the loaning of equipment, and software,” the agreement adds.

The program, which began three years ago, was recently extended another two years for all three partners. Below is an update on Masten’s progress and a list of upcoming milestones.

MASTEN SPACE SYSTEMS LUNAR CATALYST MILESTONES
NO.MILESTONE
DATE
STATUS
1Kickoff Meeting

Masten shall describe the project scope, success criteria, project management plan, project status, and schedule to completion

Success criterion: Completion of the meeting
September 2014Completed
2Requirements Definition for robotic lander propulsion system

Success criterion: Completion of the Requirements Definition Document (RDD)

October 2014 Completed
4Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for robotic lander propulsion & Reaction Control System (RCS)

Success criterion: Completion of the PDR

May 2015Completed
3Requirements Definition for Agility-Plus GNC

Success criterion: Completion of the RDD

September 2015 Completed
6Requirements Definition for robotic lander structure and gear

Success criterion: Completion of the RDD

September 2015Completed
9Requirements Definition for robotic lander/Expendable Launch Vehicle compatibility & operations concept

Success criterion: Completion of the RDD

September 2015Completed
8PDR for robotic lander Structure & Gear

Success criterion: Completion of the PDR

October 2015Completed
10PDR for Agility-Plus GNC

Success criterion: Completion of the PDR

October 2015Completed
12PDR for robotic lander/ELV compatibility & operations concept

Success criterion: Completion of the PDR

October 2015Completed
5Financial Milestone 1

Masten will achieve 45 percent of 2014 target total revenue (as described in the Lunar CATALYST proposal) and apply this to robotic lunar lander development.

Success criterion: Completion of the financial milestone.

 April 2016Completed
16Drop test of landing gear components

Success criterion: Completion of drop test.

April 2016Completed
17Financial Milestone 2

Masten will achieve 45 percent of 2015 target total revenue (as described in the Lunar CATALYST proposal) and apply this to robotic lunar lander development.

Success criterion: Completion of the financial milestone.

April 2016Completed
15Hotfire test of robotic lander main engine

Success criterion: Completion of hotfire test.

November 2016Completed
21Financial Milestone 3

Masten will achieve 45 percent of 2016 target total revenue (as described in the Lunar CATALYST proposal) and apply this to robotic lunar lander development.

Success criterion: Completion of the financial milestone.

March 2017Completed
7Test Readiness Review (TRR) of Agility-Plus GNC

Success criterion: Completion of the TRR

October 2017
11Integration of landing gear components onto XL-1T lunar lander demonstrator

Success criterion: Integration completed.

October 2017
13XL-1 Design Review 5

Success criterion: The proposed mission/system architecture is responsive to the program mission/system functional and performance requirements and requirements have been allocated to all functional elements of the mission/system.

 October 2017
14XL-1T Open Loop Agility-Plus suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle (sRLV) flight on commercial vertical testbed

Success criterion: Completion of open loop testing

January 2018
18Integration of propulsion components onto XL-1T lunar lander demonstrator

Success criterion: Integration completed.

February 2018
19XL-1 Design Review 6

Success Criteria: Complete and comprehensive presentation of the entire design

March 2018
20XEUS System Concept Design Review 1

Success Criteria: Conceptual Design Review Slides and exploration of trade space around science objectives and architecture March 2018

March 2018
22Financial Milestone 4

Masten will achieve 45 percent of 2017 target total revenue (as described in the Lunar CATALYST proposal) and apply this to robotic lunar lander development.

Success criterion: Completion of the financial milestone.

 March 2018
23 XL-1T End-to-end demonstration of hardware and software that enables a commercial lander on the Moon.

Success criterion: Completion of the demonstration.

 August 2018
24XL-1 Design Review 7

Success Criteria: Complete and comprehensive presentation of the entire design, interfaces, block, flow, and timing diagrams, and modelling results.

 September 2018
25XL-1T Hotfire of XL-1T Main Engine

Success Criteria: Successful hotfire of a single XL-1T main engine

 September 2018
26XEUS System Concept Design Review 2

Success Criteria: Conceptual Design Review Slides and selection of point design within the trade space

 September 2018
27XL-1 Design Review 8

Success Criteria: Design process check-point presenting updates and work progress from Design Review 7, and tasks for the next design analysis cycle.

 March 2019
29Financial Milestone 5

Masten will achieve 45 percent of 2018 target total revenue (as described in the Lunar CATALYST proposal) and apply this to robotic lunar lander development.

Success criterion: Completion of the financial milestone.

 March 2019
30 XL-1T Chaindown Test

Success Criteria: Successful ignition of all four engines integrated on XL-1T

March 2019
28XL-1 Design Review 9

Success Criteria: Complete and comprehensive presentation of the entire design and interfaces with documentation, and bread board and engineering model test results.

September 2019
31 XL-1T Tether Test

Success Criteria: Successful ignition of all four engines using the closed-loop Agility-Plus Software

September 2019
32 XEUS System Concept Design Review 3

Success Criteria: Conceptual Design Review Slides and baseline concept.

 September 2019

  • Search

    Nice progress. Ditto Astrobotic. When do we see what Moon Express has done

  • Jimmy S. Overly

    “XL-1T End-to-end demonstration of hardware and software that enables a commercial lander on the Moon.” This is such an exciting space sentence! Go Masten!

  • windbourne

    Frustrating that it is taking so long. U know that it will not be 2019, but 2020 or even later for these.
    I wish that CONgress would put up funding for these 3 and help get them moving.

    Still, good to see that things are happening.