Masten’s Xaero-B Damaged in Flight Test

Xaero-B in flight (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Masten Space Systems’ Xaero-B test vehicle was damaged during a flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port last month. The company says it has no plans to repair it at this time.

A source who requested anonymity reports the crash occurred on April 19. The vehicle rose about five to 10 feet off its launch pad, began to pitched over and then fell to the desert floor, the source said.

Masten said it is limited in what it can say about the incident due to restrictions from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“We have a press release pending DARPA approval. We haven’t been able to say much about what we were doing,” the company said. “What we can say though is that the vehicle was not destroyed, there was no fireball, explosion or fire associated with the event. We have no plans to repair the vehicle at this time.

“The press release will show what we were doing and shows a successful test. Again we don’t believe we are able to provide much in the way of public comment without prior approval,” the company added. “We have out a request to release a video of the event. Not having Xaero-B operational has some impact in that right now we can’t continue the testing that we were doing but we remain optimistic that we will be able to try again at a later date.”

Masten’s website indicates Xaero-B flew 75 times as of April 19.

The vertical takeoff and landing vehicle was the successor to the original Xearo-A, which was destroyed in a crash in September 2012. Masten used salvaged parts of Xaero-A to build an outdoor barbecue grill.

Masten has two other active vehicles: Xombie, which has flown 227 times; and Xodiac, which has 81 flights in its history. Xodiac is the company’s newest vehicle and has been involved in many of the recent flights and campaigns.

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