Masten shows off its XS-1 design (with wings)

Masten Xephyr

An illustration by Masten Space Systems of its Xephyr design that was funded by DARPA for Phase 1 of the XS-1 program. (credit: Masten Space Systems)

Masten Space Systems, one of three companies to receive awards from DARPA for the Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) program, has revealed the design it proposes to develop for […]

DARPA announces XS-1 study contracts

Boeing XS-1 design

Boeing’s concept for the XS-1 spaceplane, one of three selected by DARPA for Phase 1 studies. (credit: Boeing)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced Tuesday it has awarded study contracts to three teams, representing a mix of established and entrepreneurial space companies, to study concepts for a reusable suborbital spaceplane.

DARPA said […]

Masten wins DARPA XS-1 contract

Masten Space Systems is the first of likely several companies to receive awards from DARPA for the agency’s Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) reusable launch vehicle technology demonstration program. According to a Federal Business Opportunities posting, DARPA awarded Masten with a contract valued at just under $3 million on June 27 as the first award under […]

Year in PReview: is 2014 finally the year suborbital space tourism lifts off?

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. (credit: Virgin Galactic/

One decade ago, hopes were high for suborbital space tourism. Scaled Composites had performed the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne in December of 2003, and other than a minor landing mishap, the company seemed to be on track for […]

Masten’s Xaero climbs to new heights

On Tuesday Masten Space System’s Xaero vehicle took to the skies and achieved a new milestone for the company: the highest flight yet by a Masten vehicle. Xaero took off from the company’s test pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port and flew to an altitude of 444 meters before landing on the […]

Eight years later, is the suborbital industry finally ready for liftoff?

Mike Melville raises his arms after exiting SpaceShipOne following his suborbital flight on June 21, 2004. To the left, in the yellow shirt, is Burt Rutan; in the blue shirt and cap is Paul Allen. (credit: J. Foust)

On June 21, 2004, Scaled Composites made history in the skies above the just-renamed Mojave Air […]

Suborbital vehicle development updates from Space Access ’12

On Friday three of the companies actively developing commercial suborbital vehicles—Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, and XCOR Aerospace—gave presentations about their companies’ vehicle development work at the Space Access ’12 conference in Phoenix. Since it’s only been a month and a half since these companies, plus Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic (who are not presenting […]

Suborbital company announcements and other developments at NSRC

A big focus on Monday’s sessions of the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto, California, was on the progress that five companies—Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace—are making on the vehicles that can carry the research payloads, and perhaps even the researchers themselves, in the near future. […]

NSRC Day 1 highlights: suborbital research customers, prizes, and vehicle developments

Monday was the first day of the the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. This conference, the second of its kind, is designed to bring together suborbital vehicle developers and the research community, an emerging market for commercial suborbital reusable vehicles. The conference has attracted more than 300 […]

SpaceX gets its reentry license; Masten and Space Florida announce a deal

SpaceX announced Monday afternoon (in a press release that, curiously, was not on their web site as of late Tuesday morning) that they have received a commercial spacecraft reentry license from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), the first since license issued by that office:

Next month, SpaceX is planning to launch […]