Masten’s Reusable Rockets Prepare Spacecraft for Distant Landing on Other Worlds

Technology for spaceflight requires testing on Earth. Masten Space Systems built Xodiac to test terrain-relative navigation and hazard-avoidance systems for landings on Mars, the Moon, and more. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Rocket-powered vehicle for testing lander navigation systems supports space companies

MOJAVE, Calif. (Mojave PR) — How can a spacecraft land itself on alien terrain? NASA needed a better answer than “very carefully.” To spur innovation towards the first autonomous landings on the Moon, the agency presented the Lunar Lander Challenge. In 2009, a young company called Masten Space Systems earned one of the top prizes.

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SSC and Masten Space Systems Sign Agreement for 2023 Lunar Mission

Masten’s XL-1 lunar lander will deliver science and technology payloads to the Moon’s South Pole in 2022. (Credits: Masten Space Systems)

DUBAI, UAE (SSC PR) — Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Masten Space Systems has signed an agreement to provide communications support for Masten’s upcoming mission to the lunar south pole scheduled to launch in 2023. The agreement was announced today at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2021 in Dubai.

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Colin Ake Leaves Masten Space

masten_logo2Masten Space Systems Director of Business Development Colin Ake is departing after 4.5 years with the company. CEO Sean Mahoney just made the announcement on the company’s website.

Joy for Colin as he leaves us to return to his alma mater, Georgia Tech, in a role as a facilitator and champion for technology transfer. If you haven’t encountered Georgia Tech’s VentureLab or the sister group, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), they are the anchors of GT’s incubator program – one that is widely recognized as one of the best in the US. (And now we have another space entrepreneur in their midst…)

In the same post, Ake wrote:

The last three and a half years (four and a half, if you count my time as an intern) have given me the unique opportunity to pour my blood, sweat and tears into Masten. This place is awesome and I love it here. After helping organize the chaos into (slightly) less chaos, building strong relationships with people across the industry, and helping build an incredible team, another challenge beckons.

Where I’m headed: GT’s VentureLab was just recently named the #2 university business incubator in the world. They focus on building hard science and hardware startups forged from technology found deep in the heart of research labs across campus. I have a lot to learn and a lot of experience from Masten to build upon. I’ll be back at the heart of a small company soon enough, but for now I’m off to help build many other companies.

Thanks to Dave and Joel for bringing me on and to everyone at Masten I’ve met along the way. And of course thanks to everyone I’ve met in industry for good conversation and great friendships we’ve struck up over the past couple of years. When you’re in Atlanta, come see me over at VentureLab!