July 6 - US aerospace company, Masten Space Systems, has taken its experimental re-usable rocket to new heights, launching it to an altitude of 444 metres and landing it safely again in California's Mojave desert. Elly Park reports.
This is Xaero - a vertical take-off and landing vehicle being developed by Masten Space Systems. The California start-up hopes the rocket will eventually carry pay-loads for NASA to altitudes of up to 30 kilometres, mainly to collect atmospheric data now unavailable to higher-flying satellites. Xaero can be flown multiple times per day. Masten says that reusable launch vehicles will ultimately make space more accessible, with more flights at lower cost. This test flight over California's Mojave Desert took Xaero to 444 metres - a record for the company. The rocket's take-off and landing technology also serves as a test-bed for space vehicles the company believes will one day be used for missions to the moon and Mars. And Masten says tests in the near future will be designed to take the rocket to its suborbital limit ...and bring it back safely to Earth Elly Park, Reuters.