Guest: Dave Masten; Topics: Masten Space Systems lunar lander award from NASA, XL-1 lander development program, human lunar landers, company information, and much more.
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We welcomed back to the show Dave Masten of Masten Space Systems for a one segment 65 minute discussion regarding their lunar lander development program, NASA CLPS award for going to the lunar south pole around December 2022. You can get much more information about the company and their landers, XL-1 and XL-2 by visiting the Masten website, https://www.masten.aero. You can also contact Dave Masten through the company website or me.
For the first part of the program, Dave talked about winning the NASA CLPS award, the XL-1 lunar lander, the mission, payloads, the role of NASA, payload capacity, suggested landing site for the lander, timeline, additional mass available to sell to commercial customers and more. He was asked about the rigorous testing they are implementing for the XL-1 and more. Dave even got a question from Todd asking if the NASA money was in anyway tax free under some government subsidy program or was it all 100% taxable. Dave answered the question: All income taxable like all other sources of revenue.
Dave was asked about the XL-2 lander and then the XL-1t lander. In addition, listeners asked him about human rated lunar landers. Plus listeners were interested in developmental and operational timelines. Another email listener asked Dave if he saw a short term negative impact regarding Covid-19. He said no, including no to possible supply chain problems. Don't miss his full answer for this question. Listener Karen followed the Covid question with one about election year politics and the impact on the lunar lander program. Dave explained why he did not see problems arising from election year politics. Don't miss his full answer on this.
Later in the discussion, Dave was asked about rockets for the XL-1. He was rocket agnostic but mentioned Blue, SpaceX, the Falcon 9, ULA rockets and more. Listener Rod asked him about propulsion and rocket fuel. Here, Dave said they had a proprietary green hypergolic fuel they had developed over many years but he did not say much about it or provide details. Next, Dr. Doug called to talk about human sized landers and in particular the ULA-Masten Xeus Lander project with Dave's company. Don't miss this extended discussion. I also noted what ULA CEO Tory Bruno said about this lander project when he was last on The Space show in July 0f 2018. Don't miss the discussion with Doug, Dave and my commentary.
Fremont John called to talk with Dave about the Phase 1 NIAC award and lunar landing pad technology. Some of John's questioning was a result of the possibility of the SpaceX Starship landing on the Moon so he wanted to know if a landing pad would be needed. Near the end of the program I read an email from a Canadian listener saying it was not an issue so when I read that email right before we ended the program, make note what the listener had to say about Starship and a lunar landing.
Dave was asked a few questions about the corporation Masten Space Systems. Dave talked about employees, hiring new employees from engineering disciplines but not specifically aerospace engineers, plus he talked about their expected growth over the next 5-10 years. I asked Dave how he got his interest in lunar landers \. He said it started early on, around 2004. Don't miss Dave's story. Ft. Worth John then called to ask questions about the green fuel plus he wanted specific impulse information for their rocket engines. After this call, Dr. Lurio called to ask Dave about the additional mass for the XL-1 lander over and above the NASA payload requirement of 80kg. Dave was also asked about having made structural changes to the XL-1 to add the additional payload mass. Don't miss this discussion.
Dave offered us summary and closing comments plus he said they had no ITAR issues in working with a foreign customer wanting to send a payload to the lunar surface. Before ending, Burton from Canada asked Dave about their plastic rocket engine and 3D printing, then he commented on the Starship landing on the mentioned earlier. He said no problem but listen to all of what Burton said in his email.
Please post your comments/questions for Dave Masten on our blog for this show. You can reach Dave through me or his website which I detailed in the earlier part of this program summary.