“The Rocket Propulsion Division is leveraging our existing research and development test capabilities by partnering with new and non-traditional defense contractors in order to accelerate speed of discovery,” said Julie Carlile, deputy chief, Rocket Propulsion Division. “Collaborating with Masten provided this opportunity utilizing our established propulsion testing infrastructure to assist the commercial space sector’s emerging small launch capabilities and lunar science missions,” she said.
The Tipping Point public-private partnership is an innovative way NASA helps industry develop promising space technologies that could benefit future commercial and government missions.
Masten was founded by CTO David Masten in 2004 and is located in Mojave, California. Masten’s main focus is “enabling space transportation and reliable planetary landers for the Earth, Moon, Mars and beyond. We are a passionate company of inventors, creators and builders with goals that include landing our own vehicle on the moon, according to the company website.”
NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which invests in and develops transformative space technologies to enable future missions, selected Masten for a Tipping Point award to mature the M10A 25,000 lbf liquid oxygen/methane Broadsword Engine in 2017. NASA Tipping Point contracts are awarded to companies with technologies that are on the verge of maturation and are likely to benefit both NASA and the commercial space market.
The AFRL Rocket Lab at Edwards AFB has played a key role in advancing rocket engine technologies for the nation since 1952. AFRL has been a prominent player in nearly every liquid rocket engine developed and flown by the United States. This testing is a trailblazer for future liquid methane engine tests and partnerships among the commercial rocket industries.