Demonstration Launch at SLC-36 Targeted for 2011
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (November 22, 2010) – Masten Space Systems and Space
Florida announced today the signing of a Letter of Intent to explore performing
demonstration launches of a Masten suborbital reusable launch vehicle from Launch
Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
“We have been looking at Florida as a launch option for some time now,” stated Masten
Founder and CEO Dave Masten. “We are excited to begin the process of determining if
Launch Complex 36 is a good location for our flight operations, and hope to attempt a
demonstration launch sometime in 2011.”
Masten Space Systems is a rapid-prototyping rocket technology research and
development company based in Mojave, CA. Their fully-reusable, vertical-takeoff-and-
landing suborbital rockets are designed to be operated frequently and affordably, flying
several missions per day with a small crew.
Masten’s and similar suborbital RLVs will enable frequent, reliable, and low-cost access
to the suborbital space environment. This provides scientists and technology developers
with high-quality microgravity, clear observation of space phenomena, or routine
contact with the upper atmosphere. “We’ve had interest from many researchers,
scientists, and engineers,” said Colin Ake, Masten’s Director of Business Development.
“We look forward to conducting regular flight operations in the near future, including
using suborbital flights as a quality assurance ‘checkout’ for experiments bound for the
International Space Station.”
Masten currently develops its vehicles and carries out flight tests in Mojave, CA. “As our
vehicles near completion, we’re searching for the ideal launch location from which to
base our flight operations team,” said Michael Mealling, Masten’s CFO. “While we are
preparing for a flight demonstration in Florida, there are enough new space ports
around the country that evaluating them will take time. Our ultimate goal is to develop
enough market demand to justify flying from multiple space ports. ”
Previous accomplishments by Masten Space Systems include winning Level 2 and
placing in level 1 flights of NASA’s Lunar Lander Challenge in 2009 and the first
demonstration of an in-air relight of a Vertical Take-off/Vertical Landing rocket last May.
Masten has completed more than 70 successful flights to date on two prototype RLVs.
“We are thrilled to have Masten looking at Florida’s Space Coast,” stated Space Florida
President Frank DiBello. “We view companies like Masten as the catalysts for
innovation in our state’s aerospace economy. There is significant potential for their
launch vehicles to provide a valuable platform for commercial research and
development, and we look forward to working with them to explore that potential here in
Minimal construction would be necessary to prepare SLC-36 for Masten demonstration
launches, according to Space Florida Spaceport Operations leadership. “Everything
about our vehicle feeds directly into low-cost operations with minimal infrastructure,”
said Dave Masten. “We require a small concrete pad and have optimized vehicle
operations for a five person team.”
The last recorded launch at SLC-36 was in February 2005, when an Atlas 3B launched
a classified NRO payload off of pad 36B.
Space Florida and Masten are at the forefront of the emerging commercial space
market. Both organizations share a commitment to reducing the cost of launch and
enabling increased access to space. “It’s great to find ourselves on the same path and
we’re looking forward to exploring opportunities in Florida,” offered Masten.
About Masten Space Systems: Masten Space Systems is a Mojave, CA based
aerospace company developing fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL)
launch vehicles, rocket-related products, and engineering services. The company’s
6000 square foot production facility and 200,000 square foot testing facility is located on
the Mojave Air and Space Port. The company uses rapid prototyping to design and build
aerospace solutions that focus on durability, long operational lifetimes, and minimal per-
flight maintenance. http://www.masten-space.com
About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as
the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As
Florida’s aerospace development organization, we are committed to attracting and
expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained
workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the
ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect
partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov.
Masten Space Systems
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Tina Lange, APR
Director, Mktg. Communications