Masten Space Systems
Xaero is a reconfiguration from the Xoie platform that won Level II of the Lunar Lander Challenge. The company expects Xaero to begin higher altitude and higher speed flights in the fourth quarter of 2011. Xaero is expected to be able to carry a 10 kg payload to approximately 30 kilometers (or 100,000 feet) according to current models with higher masses at lower altitudes or shorter flight durations.
Xaero takes off and land vertically in the same place it launches from. The flight profile consists of launch, acceleration to Mach 0.9 throughout the majority of atmospheric resistance, then going full throttle before shutting off the engine.
During parabolic coast phase the payload experiences microgravity. As the vehicle descends back into the atmosphere and gains speed the coast phase ends. At this point the rocket stabilizes itself and falls towards the ground engine-first before the engine re-lights and lands the vehicle on the same pad used for takeoff.
Flight profiles have some flexibility for payload specific needs and are assessed on a per payload basis. Flight profiles on all vehicles can be modified for lower accelerations with minimal loss of altitude and microgravity time.
Xaero is the company’s first vehicle to use an aeroshell. Xaero and Xogdor (next generation platform) use the same basic aeroshell and payload bay design. The upper payload bay is roughly conical.
Payload placement slots are available in both the forward section of the nose cone or in smaller areas toward the aft end of the vehicle. As currently designed, Xaero's airframe allows for P-POD Cubesat carriers and single ESPA ring mounts as a standard payload format. Lower bays are limited in size and do not adhere to any existing payload interface standard.
VTVL / Unpiloted
5-6 minutes at 30 km (100,000 ft)
TYPICAL FLIGHT DURATION
12.5 sec (10 kg)
5.1 sec (40 kg)
TYPICAL DURATION OF MICROGRAVITY
USEFUL PAYLOAD MASS AT 30 KM
+/- 2.5 deg during coast
12VDC or 24VDC
Mojave Air and Space Port, CA
Access to external environment
Telemetry (is coming)
Data storage provided
Reduced gravity capability
Middeck locker compatible
Windowed access to the outside