111 innovations

The Masten Xaero  rocket during its landing phase.

Xaero vertical takeoff/vertical landing suborbital rocket

Masten Space Systems has performed a record-setting flight of their vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) Xaero suborbital rocket at the Mohave Air and Space Port. Unlike the rockets designed specifically for the NASA Lunar Lander challenge, the Xaero is the only VTVL rocket intended to carry payloads into suborbital trajectories. The test flight saw the Xaero propelled to an altitude of 444 meters (1,457 feet), before returning to Earth and making a perfect landing on its jets. 

The Xaero is a suborbital rocket designed to carry NASA payloads weighing up to 10 kg to an altitude of about 30 km.  A total flight time of five to six minutes will include five to twelve seconds of microgravity at the 0.001 g level. Going from the picture below, the Xaero is about 4.5 meters long, about a meter in diameter. It has a carbon fiber aeroshell containing fuel/oxidizer tanks and a gimbled Cyclops-AL-3 rocket engine providing a maximum thrust of 1650 N-m. The guidance, navigation, control mechanisms and software were developed by Masten to enable precision flight and vertical landing maneuvers.

Source: gizmag.comAdded: 6 July 2012

Tags: aerospace