Masten Space Systems, a leader in vertical take off, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket vehicles, announced a contract today with NASA’s new Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program. The initial contract is for four flights of test payloads on Xaero, Masten’s next-generation vehicle currently in assembly.

“We’re very excited and proud to be one of the first awardees under the CRuSR program,” said David Masten, CEO. “CRuSR promises to be very helpful in the development of our industry. NASA’s partnership with our emerging industry will provide low-cost and reliable space access to NASA’s scientists, engineers and educators.”

Masten Space Systems won the NASA funded Lunar Lander Challenge in October 2009 and demonstrated the first ever VTVL in-air relight in May 2010. The initial four flights for the CRuSR program will be conducted this winter from the company’s 200,000 square foot test area at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, CA.

“We look forward to working with the CRuSR’s payload developers,” said Michael Mealling, Vice President of Business Development. “Everyone has a lot of work to do over the coming months. In two weeks we deliver the ‘operating manual’ to the CRuSR team. That manual provides all of the details for integration timelines, payload interfaces, and flight day operations.”

Masten Space Systems expects to begin extensive commercial flight operations in 2011. Potential applications include microgravity science experiments, testing engineering components for future space flight, and educational flights for K-12 and university students. “Our flights services aren’t limited to NASA. Over the next year we will begin offering this same service to any research scientist, engineer or educator,” said Colin Ake, Director of Sales.

Masten Space Systems is a Mojave, CA based aerospace company developing fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) launch vehicles, rocket-related products, and engineering services. The company’s 6000 square foot production facility and 200,000 square foot testing facility is located on the Mojave Air and Space Port. The company designs and builds aerospace solutions that focus on durability, long operational lifetimes, and minimal per-flight maintenance. For more information on the company see