With roots in amateur rocketry and a sincere passion for creating value in the space industry, Masten as a company came into existence in 2005 with the vision of making space access available to the general population. The transition from hobby to business marked a concerted effort to bring the innovation and design practices in the software world to the space world. Our founding principles are:
Masten Space Systems was founded to apply some of the operational efficiencies discovered by the commercial aviation industry to the operation of suborbital rockets. By creating technology with the correct safety margins and an operationally minded design, Masten has developed the capability to fly the same rocket multiple times in the same day.
Everything at Masten, from engineering decisions to operational procedures, is developed with an eye towards reliable and responsive access to space. This goes for our non-toxic vehicle propellants, our placement of fueling ports, our flight operation procedures, and everything else in our toolbox.
We approach subsystem and vehicle design with an iterative approach and a bias towards action. After initial calculations, we’re more likely to build and test hardware quickly using our responsive supply chain rather than analyze something to death. At Masten we avoid over-analysis—or analysis paralysis as some call it—like the plague. We’d much rather take an engine concept to the test stand and out to the test site to collect data to inform our next decisions than analyze the design for weeks before first firing.
Our iterative approach shows itself in all aspects of our work—from hardware design and development to software testing and even in our Reusable Launch Vehicle operations procedures. After every test, design review, or operation our engineering team sits down to discuss squawks and make changes to any and all portions of our procedures, hardware, or software. Often we’re out testing the same or following day with new procedures, hardware or software iterations.
This iterative approach to hardware and software development provides cost savings, a unique rapid prototyping approach to Reusable Launch Vehicle development, and an engineering team very attuned to the operational challenges of Reusable Launch Vehicle development.
Vertical Take Off, Vertical Landing
Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing is standard for Masten launch vehicles. Heavily inspired by the Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) approach to launch vehicle design, Masten has developed internally all software necessary for precision landing on a plume of smoke and fire. Using multiple inputs, this GN&C system dynamically controls the launch vehicle using the most efficient path on a given flight profile.