Masten Xaero Ascends Quarter-mile on Test Launch
During a test launch on July 3, 2012, Masten Space Systems' Xaero sub-orbital rocket ascended 444 meters, or slightly more than a quarter mile above ground, before reversing course and landing back on its concrete launch and landing pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. The height was the highest reached by the Xaero to date during its developmental test program.
Masten's Xaero is one of several small reusable launch systems being developed to carry small experiments and technology payloads on brief sub-orbital space flights under NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, which is managed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards. Under a $250,000 NASA contract, Masten is required to perform four demonstration flights of its vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing spacecraft, two to about 16,000 feet altitude and two to almost 100,000 feet altitude.