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Thursday 31 July 2014

Masten's Xaero-B spacecraft. - Masten Space Systems

Masten's Xaero-B spacecraft. - Masten Space Systems

Sub orbit

Masten Space Systems Unveils Their Newest Spacecraft

MOJAVE, Calif. — Masten Space Systems’ Colin Ake today released the following information and detailed pictures on the next iteration of the Xaero spacecraft – their newest vehicle.

Since last summer, even while we focused on Xombie flights for JPL and expanding Xaero’s flight envelope, we were working. Designing, tweaking, and starting to build the next iteration of Xaero that we affectionately (and creatively) call Xaero-B. We’re finally ready to pull the curtain back and share her with you!

Xaero-B is intended to be capable of 6 km altitude with her engine on throughout the duration of flight. She is also configurable for higher altitude flight, but we’ll talk more about that later in the flight test program. For the time being, Xaero-B will be headed through static hot-fire testing followed by initial tether flights, and then she’ll break into free flight. Once we’ve shown the ability to fly consistently to altitudes interesting to our customers, Xaero-B will be hosting payloads of many types for a myriad of companies.

Xaero-B borrows her general configuration from Masten’s previous vehicles. The propulsion assembly with engine is of course at the base of the vehicle, followed by the insulated liquid oxygen tank and pressurant bottles. Immediately above that is the isopropyl alcohol tank and another section similar to the inter-tank region for avionics and RCS modules. The payload bay is significantly larger and occupies the majority of the nosecone. For comparison – Xaero-B stands between 15′ and 16′ tall, while Xaero stood 12′ tall when completely assembled.

Of course, your front row seat will come via YouTube. For now, you’ll have to be satisfied with more pictures of the beautiful Xaero-B!

Xaero-B valve assembly. – Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Helium pressurant bottles are seen early in construction thanks to an axial view of the inter-tank region.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Xaero-B’s Avionics module is a removable tray easily accessible above the IPA tank.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Xaero-B Avionics sit in removable trays above the IPA tank.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

A gauge panel is seen from inside the vehicle early in construction.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Xaero-B’s “Boat-tail” under construction in Masten’s Composite Shop.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Composite stiffening stringers are seen before being integrated with the boat-tail.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Xaero’s propulsion unit – a Scimitar class engine – is seen in this photo before being integrated with the vehicle.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Xaero-B’s switch panel and electrical interfaces are seen in this image.- Masten Space Systems — /// CLICK TO ENLARGE

Thanks for tagging along through our first virtual tour of Xaero-B. We’ll have more news for you soon!

— Colin Ake / The Masten Crew

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