CRuSR makes its first awards

Armadillo Aerospace’s Scorpius vehicle on a flight as part of the Lunar Lander Challenge in September 2009.

On Monday NASA announced that it has made $475,000 in awards to Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems for experimental flights of suborbital reusable vehicles. These are the first contracts for test flights under the agency’s Commercial […]

More developments from Masten

The announcement of the Masten/XCOR partnership on Tuesday to pursue lander testbed opportunities with NASA might leave some to conclude that Masten was turning to XCOR entirely for all of its engine needs. That is not the case: Masten is continuing to develop and test its own engines, using LOX and isopropyl alcohol propellants, for […]

ISDC has a strong NewSpace flavor this year

I’m at the airport waiting to catch a flight to Chicago for this year’s International Space Development Conference, the annual conference of the National Space Society. (I was already supposed to be there, but Untied, er, United, canceled my flight last night.) This year’s conference has a particular emphasis on NewSpace, more so than conventional […]

Masten and XCOR to partner

This morning Masten Space Systems and XCOR Aerospace announced a partnership to pursue anticipated NASA business for unmanned lander technology development efforts. Masten will develop the vehicles and XCOR will provide LOX/methane engines and composite propellant tanks. Full details are in the press release below, and the companies plan a joint telecon later today to […]

Suborbital vehicle development updates

In yesterday’s sessions at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Boulder, Colorado, four major developers of suborbital vehicles presented updates on their efforts. Here’s a summary of what they revealed:

Virgin Galactic: Stephen Attenborough provided considerable details about their plans to flight test SpaceShipTwo (SS2). Ground testing will continue until the end of this quarter, […]

Aviation Week honors the “Space Entrepreneur”

The efforts of the emerging NewSpace field to reshape the space industry have attracted the attention of a leading trade publication, Aviation Week & Space Technology, which named “The Space Entrepreneur” as its 2009 PErson of the Year in this week’s issue. “Collectively, they are in the vanguard of a new industry, poised to transform […]

Xombie photos (finally!)

Better late than never:

Masten gets halfway there

I was in Mojave this morning to see Masten Space Systems make their first attempt to claim second prize of Level One of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. (I didn’t make a special trip to California to see it; I was already in the area to attend the AIAA Space 2009 conference in Pasadena […]

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the LLC race

In today’s issue of The Space Review I have a summary article about Saturday’s Level 2 flights by Armadillo, including video of both flights. While that was going on, though, other teams have been making progress on their flights. On Sunday, Masten Space Systems announced via Twitter that they made two 90+second test flightsdespite gusting […]

Lunar Lander Challenge plans

As for the Lunar Lander Challenge, the centerpiece of the X Prize Cup: Armadillo Aerospace will be flying its Mod vehicle for the Level 1 challenge and the larger Pixel vehicle (which flew last year) for Level 2. If all goes well, Mod will fly Saturday morning and Pixel will fly Saturday afternoon; if both […]