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Astrobotic has acquired Masten Area Techniques together with its whole portfolio of superior area expertise developed over 18 years of operation for $4.5 million. Masten has accomplished greater than 600 vertical takeoff and touchdown (VTVL) rocket flights since its founding in 2004.
Masten has testing infrastructure for a variety of various rocket applied sciences, from single-element injector testing to 25,000-pound thrust rocket engine testing to touchdown simulation testing. It additionally has a portfolio of area expertise, which incorporates applied sciences for lunar night time survival, immediate touchdown pad development, lunar water mining expertise and lunar infrastructure development applied sciences.
The corporate has aided in NASA’s Flight Alternatives Program by offering flights to NASA-sponsored payloads to arrange them for spaceflight since 2011. Masten has additionally flown payloads for present and future lunar and interplanetary missions, together with Astrobotic’s OPAL terrain relative navigation system, Honeybee Robotics’ PlanetVac system and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s lander imaginative and prescient system for the Mars Curiosity mission.
The mixed corporations’ greater than 200 workers will proceed working in Pittsburgh, the place Astrobotic is headquartered, and on the Mojave Air and Area Port in California. Astrobotic plans to take care of suborbital flight operations at Masten’s testing websites at Mojave. It additionally plans to proceed providing the area trade a testing web site for warm fireplace rockets.
The Masten staff will proceed to supply VTVL take a look at flights for its industrial and authorities clients, which embody large names like NASA and SpaceX. Astrobotic even plans to develop its take a look at flight choices with the event of the Xogdor rocket. With this rocket, the mixed corporations plan to supply larger altitudes, longer missions and supersonic flight for suborbital payload testing.
“I began Masten with the purpose of tearing down obstacles to area,” David Masten, Masten’s founder and president, stated. “On behalf of the Masten staff, I’m excited to affix Astrobotic in our shared mission to create space accessible to the world. This mixed group will allow us to proceed to supply essential companies to our clients and assist us make a much bigger impression on humanity’s future in area.”
Masten Area Techniques filed for Chapter 11 chapter safety in July 2022. The area firm declared chapter as its money owed ballooned, tracing again to a NASA contract awarded to Masten two years in the past. As soon as seen as a serious win for the small enterprise, the NASA deal left Masten over finances, and it was unable to boost funds or pay workers.
“Masten’s suborbital launch automobiles and propulsion take a look at facilities are nationwide belongings for the area trade. We’re excited to function and develop these companies for corporations, governments, and area businesses internationally,” Astrobotic CEO John Thornton stated. “Bringing these companies to Astrobotic is a pure match for our mission to create space accessible to the world.”
These new applied sciences complement Astrobotic’s present applied sciences, which embody landers, rovers and different area expertise. The corporate is presently making ready its Peregrine Lunar Lander for launch in late 2022. The lander contains a number of payloads, together with CMU’s Iris Rover, which might be the primary American rover on the moon, and 5 micro-robots from the Nationwide Autonomous College of Mexico, which can make it the primary Mexican mission to the moon.