Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Space Access ’11: Dave Masten

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
April 8, 2011
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The Xaero vehicle during assembly November 2010. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Dave Masten
Masten Space Systems

Developing reusable, highly operable suborbital vehicles and technologies — orbital effort lies in the future

Progress — Past Year

  • Lost some team members — replaced them and added a focus on business
  • First VTVL Relight Flight
  • SBIR
  • Plume Impingement SBIR
  • Scimitar Engine
  • Signed agreement with Space Florida (letter of intent)
  • Xaero in the air
  • Focus on customers

Scimitar Engine

  • Improved design — easier to maintain from operational standpoint
  • 1,800 lbs. of thrust (more than planned)

CRuSR Work

  • completed payload integration
  • continue to work towards flight milestones
  • plans to conduct first CRuSR launch within the next few months

2011 Focus

  • Xaero to 30 km
  • Xogdor buildout
  • Engine tests and other technical developments
  • Building up business office
  • Going for another round of funding


Why Florida?

  • A lot of talent in Florida and they’re going to be available soon.
  • Every spaceport they can fly with has military airspace over it. Love Mojave but they only want us to fly it into their airspace if it is R&D. As soon as they get operational (commercially), they don’t want them flying from there.
  • White Sands Missile Base adjacent to Spaceport America is “pretty lousy” at providing airspace. Armadillo Aerospace had problems with a rocket launch last week.
  • Florida is willing to bend over backwards to get people to launch from their state.

Time frame for going up to 30 kilometers?

September time frame. Relates to CRuSR contract. Need to get it done.

What is the schedule for Xogdor and the vehicle flying to 100 km?

Can’t give you a schedule until his signs up his new investor.

What is your biggest concern?

Federal government policy and budgets. The President’s NASA budget last year was excellent. Obama actually listened to his own committee and made intelligent decisions. Provided plenty of money for most centers. Those on Constellation program that was canceled would have worked on new technology programs.

Space Launch System (aka Senate Launch System) isn’t going to fly. Why are we building it?

Bruce Pittman: “Jim Muncy is going to explain all that to us tomorrow morning.”

Jim Muncy: “No I’m not.” (Laughter)

“I don’t know what Congress is thinking….Kick them all out.” (Applause)