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Author Topic:   Masten Space Systems' XL-1 robotic lander
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-29-2018 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Masten Space Systems release
NASA Selects Masten for Moon Delivery

Masten Space Systems has been awarded NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) IDIQ contract vehicle to deliver payloads to the lunar service. CLPS is a multi-award contract worth $2.6B over the duration of its 10 year performance period. The contract funds launch, landing, and lunar surface systems with first missions targeted as early as 2021.

"We are eager to apply our capability-driven approach refined over the last decade as we go to the lunar surface," said Sean Mahoney, CEO of Masten Space Systems. "We are eager to work with NASA to enable new business models that will unlock the potential of the cislunar economy and enable humans to return to the moon."

Masten's XL-1 robotic lander concept has been developed in partnership with NASA's Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) program over the last five years. XL-1 is a spacecraft featuring two payload bays and has the capability to deliver 100kg of payload mass to the lunar surface. XL-1 will be put on a translunar injection by a larger launch vehicle and once in lunar orbit will fire its four main engines to autonomously descend into a soft touchdown at a predetermined location on the lunar surface.

Since its 2009 win of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XChallenge, funded by NASA's Centennial Challenges program, Masten has been developing and iterating space transportation systems. Masten has engineered and flown 5 rocket powered landers collectively completing over 600 vertical landings. Those flights have demonstrated numerous precision landing and hazard avoidance hardware and software technologies in partnership with NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and multiple commercial companies.

Today, the Masten and NASA team collaborating under the CATALYST program is integrating and nearing testing of XL-1T, a terrestrial demonstrator which serves as a precursor to Masten's XL-1 lunar lander. With detailed design of XL-1 already underway, Masten expects have a developed landing capability by 2021 and anticipates being among the first on the lunar surface.

The work pursued through CATALYST has been imperative for maturing key technologies of Masten's lunar lander, XL-1. Since 2014, Masten and NASA have been working together on designing, building, and testing subsystem components for XL-1. In 2019, Masten will be testing the hardware and software developed under CATALYST on our newest reusable flight vehicle, XL-1T, which will act as a terrestrial testbed for our lunar lander.

"We're excited to be selected under the CLPS program and we are ready to build a lunar lander," said Dave Masten, CTO and founder of Masten Space Systems. "It's time to go back to stay."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44522
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-08-2020 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Awards Contract to Deliver Science, Tech to Moon Ahead of Human Missions

NASA has selected Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California, to deliver and operate eight payloads – with nine science and technology instruments – to the Moon's South Pole in 2022, to help lay the foundation for human expeditions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024.

Above: Masten's XL-1 lunar lander will deliver science and technology payloads to the Moon's South Pole in 2022. (Masten Space Systems)

The payloads, which include instruments to assess the composition of the lunar surface, test precision landing technologies, and evaluate the radiation on the Moon, are being delivered under NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative as part of the agency's Artemis program.

As the country and the world face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA is leveraging virtual presence and communications tools to safely make progress on these important lunar exploration activities, and to award this lunar surface delivery as it was scheduled prior to the pandemic.

"Under our Artemis program, we are going to the Moon with all of America," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Commercial industry is critical to making our vision for lunar exploration a reality. The science and technology we are sending to the lunar surface ahead of our crewed missions will help us understand the lunar environment better than we ever have before. These CLPS deliveries are on the cutting edge of our work to do great science and support human exploration of the Moon. I'm happy to welcome another of our innovative companies to the group that is ready to start taking our payloads to the Moon as soon as possible."

The $75.9 million award includes end-to-end services for delivery of the instruments, including payload integration, launch from Earth, landing on the Moon's surface, and operation for at least 12 days. Masten Space Systems will land these payloads on the Moon with its XL-1 lander.

"The Moon provides great scientific value, and these payloads will advance what we know and help define and improve the science astronauts can do," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). "Our commercial Moon delivery efforts are seeking to demonstrate how frequent and affordable access to the lunar surface benefits both science and exploration."

The payloads that will be delivered have been developed predominantly from the two recent NASA Provided Lunar Payloads (NPLP) and Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads (LSITP) solicitations.

The nine instruments to be delivered are:

  • Lunar Compact Infrared Imaging System (L-CIRiS) will deploy a radiometer – a device that measures infrared wavelengths of light – to explore the Moon's surface composition, map its surface temperature distribution, and demonstrate the instrument's feasibility for future lunar resource utilization activities.

  • Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS) is a sensor that will measure the radiation environment on the Moon's surface. The payload also is being flown on a CLPS flight to the Moon in 2021.

  • Heimdall is a flexible camera system for conducting lunar science on commercial vehicles. This innovation includes a single digital video recorder and four cameras: a wide-angle descent imager, a narrow-angle regolith imager, and two wide-angle panoramic imagers. This camera system is intended to model the properties of the Moon's regolith – the soil and other material that make up the top layer of the lunar surface – and characterize and map geologic features. Other goals for this instrument include characterizing potential landing or trafficability hazards.

  • MoonRanger is a small robotic rover that weighs less than 30 pounds and will demonstrate communications and mapping technologies. It will demonstrate the ability to move quickly across long distances on the lunar surface with autonomous navigation and without the ability to communicate with Earth in real time. It is a technology that could enable exploration of destinations that are far from lunar landing sites. The MoonRanger will carry the Neutron Spectrometer System, which will measure the concentration of hydrogen in the Moon's regolith – a possible indication of the existence of buried water.

  • Mass Spectrometer Observing Lunar Operations (MSolo) is a device to measure potentially accessible resources on the Moon's surface. It will identify gases coming off a lander during touchdown on the lunar surface to help scientists understand what elements are coming from the lunar surface and which ones are introduced by a lander itself.

  • Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) is a tool to measure surface composition and temperature. The instrument will characterize the variability of the lunar soils and detect volatiles such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and water.

  • Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) is a series of eight small mirrors to measure distance and support landing accuracy. It requires no power or communications from the lander and can be detected by future spacecraft orbiting or landing on the Moon.

  • Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering, and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR) is a robotic arm that will collect samples of lunar regolith and demonstrate the use of a robotic scoop that can filter and isolate particles of different sizes. The sampling technology makes use of a flight spare from the Mars Exploration Rover project.
NASA has contracted with 14 American companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through competed task orders. The agency plans to issue at least two such task orders per year through which the companies can propose to take payloads to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, early commercial deliveries of payloads to the lunar surface missions enable NASA to perform science experiments, test technologies and demonstrate capabilities to further explore the Moon and prepare for human missions.

"I am very pleased to award our next delivery service task order to Masten Space Systems," said Steven Clarke, deputy associate administrator for exploration in SMD. "With the first delivery in 2022, we are continuing to execute our strategy of providing two delivery opportunities per year of science investigations and technology demonstration payloads to the lunar surface."

In May 2019, NASA selected two CLPS providers, Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines, who are each making progress toward sending payloads to the Moon next year. In February, NASA asked the 14 companies to provide proposals to fly the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), which will be the first rover on the Moon that will look for and map the distribution of water and other important volatiles at one of the lunar poles. In addition to these deliveries and the delivery to be made by Masten Space Systems, payloads for a fifth lunar delivery are in development, and NASA will soon be initiating a new series of payload acquisitions for targeted science investigations for years to come.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44522
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-08-2020 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Masten Space Systems release
Masten Space Systems Will Deliver NASA and Commercial Payloads to the Lunar Surface in 2022

Today (April 8, 2020), NASA and Masten Space Systems announced that the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Project Office has selected Masten to deliver a suite of NASA-sponsored scientific instruments to the lunar surface by December 2022. In addition to commercial payloads, Masten's XL-1 lunar lander will deliver nine science and technology demonstration experiments to the lunar south pole under this $75.9 million award. As part of the Artemis program, the purpose of these experiments is to collate localized, concurrent data sets from the lunar polar region in advance of human missions to the Moon.

"Masten is thrilled to have NASA as our anchor customer on this mission," said CEO Sean Mahoney. "As we, like the rest of the world, work to keep our employees and families safe in these trying times, we're glad to see America's return to the Moon and space commerce moving forward."

Masten will also provide end-to-end commercial payload services between the Earth and the lunar surface for all of the NASA-sponsored payloads. This includes operations associated with the launch vehicle, launch site, spacecraft, lander mission design and analysis, ground systems, payload integration, planning and support, and post-landing payload operations.

"Masten's XL-1 lunar lander is built on over a decade of experience in vertical takeoff and vertical landing technology (VTVL) with a focus on reusability," explained Founder and CTO David Masten. "We're grateful for all the partners and customers who have worked with our team to perform hundreds of successful rocket landings. This experience has helped us develop the enabling technology of entry descent and landing that will ensure precise and safe landings on other celestial bodies."

Masten's XL-1 lunar lander is directly evolved from the Xombie and Xoie landers which won the NASA Centennial Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X-Prize Challenge in 2009. Masten's 600+ VTVL rocket flights and years of working closely with NASA under the Lunar CATALYST program have laid the groundwork for mission success. In addition to the 80 kg of NASA science experiments, the XL-1 lunar lander will have hundreds of kilograms of additional capacity available, allowing Masten to provide reliable and affordable access to the lunar surface for industry, governments, and scientists.

"Under our Artemis program, we are going to the Moon with all of America," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Commercial industry is critical to making our vision for lunar exploration a reality. The science and technology we are sending to the lunar surface ahead of our crewed missions will help us understand the lunar environment better than we ever have before. These CLPS deliveries are on the cutting edge of our work to do great science and support human exploration of the Moon. I'm happy to welcome another of our innovative companies to the group that is ready to start taking our payloads to the Moon as soon as possible."

Masten's additional capacity on its first mission to the Moon provides opportunities for commercial partners to access the resource-rich lunar south pole. If your company is interested in sending a payload to the Moon, you can learn more here.

To support lunar delivery and existing lunar development projects, Masten is currently expanding its team. For those who thrive in a dynamic start-up environment and have a passion for reaching the Moon, please apply.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44522
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-26-2020 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Masten Space Systems release
SpaceX to Launch Masten Lunar Mission in 2022

Launch to deliver Masten's lunar lander carrying NASA and commercial payloads.

Masten Space Systems announced today (Aug. 26) that it has selected SpaceX to launch Masten Mission One (MM1). As part of MM1, Masten's lunar lander will deliver nine NASA-sponsored science and technology demonstration experiments and several commercial payloads to the lunar south pole.

"Having SpaceX's proven launch success behind us is not only great for us, but it's great for our customers," said Masten chief executive officer, Sean Mahoney. "We share a common vision with SpaceX and that makes this more than a partnership. It's more like a dream team."

Masten's first mission to the Moon, MM1 is a collaboration with NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Project Office. The Masten XL-1 lunar lander is scheduled to touch down on the lunar south pole in 2022, carrying a suite of NASA-sponsored scientific instruments and various payloads from commercial space customers.

"We are thrilled to be launching Masten's Mission One to the Moon in 2022," said SpaceX Senior Director of Commercial Sales Stephanie Bednarek. "SpaceX was founded upon the goal of extending humanity's reach beyond Earth, and it's exciting to take part in a mission with many partners who share the same vision."

Masten's additional capacity on its first mission to the Moon provides opportunities for commercial partners to access the resource-rich lunar south pole. If your company is interested in sending a payload to the Moon, you can learn more at MastenMoon.com.

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