Masten Is Going To The Moon! The “Little Rocket Company That Could” Gets a Big Opportunity From NASA

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You might not have heard of Masten Space Systems, but they’ve been hacking on rocket vehicles for over 15 years, they’ve built many prototypes and flown them on Earth hundreds of times. And while they won the Lunar Landing X-Prize they’ve never had a vehicle they designed go to space, so it’s great to see that NASA has given them a contract to deliver a payload to the Lunar surface in 2022 as part of the CLPS program.

Masten Space System’s website is here:

  1. Jed Sta Theresa • 10 years ago

    Oh that’s nice!

  2. Dragonhealer

    What a great time to be alive!
    Thanks Scott!

  3. Deadpan Devastation

    At the poles there’s the potential for unlimited sunlight 💈

  4. Qwertzy

    So hopefully we get to see a probe that does not crash-land into the moon

  5. Brian Streufert

    Wow, hats off to them and a major congrats. They’ve been hacking away at this for 20 years, barely scraping by at times. This will be sweet sweet vindication if they are successful. Very talented group and extremely determined so I am sure they will do well. Looking forward to this!!!!

  6. Marty lawson

    I’m sure someone can figure out how to litho-brake Marston Mat from ~1km/s. All you’d have to do then is dip sub-orbital to drop your landing pad, verify integrity next orbit, then land on the 2nd orbit? That’d be the Kerbal way!


    Cool stuff! Enjoyed watching! Take care! Peace ✌️ from Welland Ontario Canada 🇨🇦

  8. Anvilshock

    Ffs, get metric, space guys!! Lbflbflbf, what is that?? What kind of unit is “blowing a raspbery”?

  9. TheCrazyInsanity

    Can you cover Space tethers / space hooks? They are very interesting and i would like to see your opinion on them.

  10. Trevin

    What a comprehensive report on the future of lunar exploration! Would’ve enjoyed watching the testing going on in Mojave😿Thank you Scot please reports coming we love them

  11. Buck Starchaser

    4:03 That’s clearly Hydrogen Peroxide oxidizer/coolant with a blend of oily or acetone fuel and sodium-based catalyst. The only secret to that formula is that NASA lists it as a “Low-energy bipropellant”.

  12. aSinisterKiid

    the idea to basically spray down a launch pad from the rocket, is freakin cool.

  13. Armand Karlsen

    ngl, first time i saw the thumbnail, I thought it was a screenshot from KSP…

  14. Jacco van Schaik

    Anyone else get totally distracted when the Apollo 12 landing footage started? Had to rewind to hear what Scott was talking about.

  15. flantc

    $75M? Boeing won’t even get out of bed for anything less than $100M.

  16. Marcel Breault

    ground travel through the regolith may prove to be quite challenging, perhaps we should send road building drones or something to ascertain safe areas to travel.

  17. Old Curmudgeon

    4:20 nice reference to the Space Camp movie.

  18. Saumya Cow

    Scott – there needs to be a better expression than “flags and footprints” to describe serious, long term, scientific/exploratory missions. I too often see “flags and footprints” being used as a derogatory term by the (I’m trying to be polite here) colonisation enthusiasts.

  19. Ambonec

    1:30 Six time the load, plus wind. Ample margin

  20. Billeh

    If I was to put my drill in the freezer for 4 days it would be frozen solid how did the ships not sustain this damage

  21. T-65B X-Wing Fighter

    Wait, Broadsword like SFS?

  22. Patchuchan

    Good to see they’re still working on landers.
    I think they should get the contract for the Artemis lander as Xeus would meet or exceed most of the mission requirements.

  23. BoyWithKnife

    boy did this made me get up my chair and cheer!
    That’s great news!
    I especially loved the non-toxic fuel part.
    More science inclined commenters might help me out here but, from my layman perspective, 366 → 322 seems to be a very decent compromise for such a better fuel no?
    I mean, in the end maybe you need to use more but if it’s non-toxic, means it can have more uses, used more often, therefore gets cheaper, therefore doesn’t really drive the price up but eventually even down?

    Uau I am still nodding my head at these news…

  24. Mikicat

    That’s nice cube lander, i hope it will work, beacuse 2019 was very unfriendly for those

  25. Adam Kendall

    1:57 boy look at that beautiful wind farm just churning out green energy.

  26. Dark Knighte Apologeticz

    Yay rockets. Yay science. I like the smell of dry cleaned laundry. I liked this video.

  27. Helaman Gile

    That title has me re reading it like 30 times

  28. Lewis Massie

    Ijecting alumins into the exhaust plume to weld the regolith together is exactly the kind of solution I would expect from rocket scientists

  29. Ian Kester-Haney

    I presume they’ll have to build landing pads eventually. Especially if there is a long term station on the moon.

  30. Woochinatchika Kokillibolinov

    I’ve seen their videos. beautiful control. Real focus on control.

  31. ypey1

    475 million is a bargain for sending my mother in law to the moon!

  32. You_just

    $75m for an end-to-end Lunar landing! Imagine telling that to someone in 1970!

  33. MrCoreForce

    So they are literally 3D printing their landing pad.

  34. chwaca

    XL 1T looks like ”the bug” from Red Dwarf lol

  35. Aubrey Freeman

    My favorite small rocket company. Also, best names in the business.

  36. Throku

    Yeah I always found the prizemoney for those competitions sounding silly. “Congratulations you won a million dollars!” *Cough* “Yeah great, I only spent thirty getting here.”

  37. Dan Stocks

    In a few years time. ‘School project moon lander with some milk bottles and a Raspberry Pi’

  38. Eric Shafto

    You expressed thrust in kilograms. I found that very surprising.

  39. Mike Wick

    Build a lunar satellite with death ray that melts regolith into a landing pad.

  40. Lensflare Deviant

    Hey Scott, I have thought about this off and on since the Starship presentation and I wanted to run this by you. My math and understanding is not up to the job. Starship landing on the moon. IF the numbers spacex have provided turn out to be true CAN starship go to the moon at all? Spacex is aiming at a dry mass of 120 tons, a fuel mass of 1200 tons and a cargo (to LEO) of 100 tons. When one puts those numbers into a DV calculator one gets a total DV for starship of 6,949 m/s for LEO missions. I make the assumption that this includes the required DV for return and landing. Now if we put up a more modest Starship for a lunar mission carrying say only 25 tons and fly enough tanker flights to fully refuel the Starship this gives us a DV from LEO of 8,300 m/s. Using one of the various DV maps online I find on average from LEO to Lunar Orbit requires a DV of 4,100 m/s and from Lunar orbit to the surface a DV of another 2,200 m/s is required. To my poor understanding this puts Starship on the surface of the moon with 2,000 m/s of DV left in the tanks which won’t get Starship back into Lunar orbit never mind on a return transfer orbit. IF these numbers are even remotely close to the mark does this not mean that unless there is a fuel source on the moon for Starship it won’t be going even that far? Or have I gaffed something somewhere?

  41. Mirodin

    “Deep throttle” xD

  42. Bobby Benfield

    Man this stuff is so cool!! We live in such a great time! I am so happy I’ll get to see someone land on the moon in my life! Bad ass!

  43. Harry Schaefer

    I love dry-cleaning my lungs, they always come out sparling clean!

  44. Bluebonic

    I wonder what Moon Express is up too. Last thing I heard about them, they were in trouble for patent fraud or something.


    the interviews of Dave Master on TMRO are fascinating.
    BTW typo in the title of this video

  46. Sausage

    Let’s hope the next one isn’t called Fireball XL5 :-)

  47. Julian Galpin

    Never heard of them.

    This all happens too quickly

  48. Alrion1704

    6:55 absolute worth the award. can we get something like this as a KSP mod pls!?

  49. JenJen on wheels

    Great to see ‘not bowing’ get these contracts. It all sounds fascinating and I look forward to the missions!

  50. Krishna Bharat

    Interesting idea: spraying alumina to avoid dust/debris rise during landing

  51. calown

    I wish my father had lived to hear about the alumina landing pad concept. He was one of the world’s foremost ceramic engineers; he’d be all over this!

  52. Robert Miller

    A couple of missions like this are they only landings “Artemis” will do. We really, really need polar landings.

  53. Don Jones

    31,000 views in frikin’ 9 minutes. Damn! I guess I’m not first.

  54. Flyprdu

    “Dryclean your lungs.” Nice SpaceCamp reference.

  55. johnmccnj

    4:21 “Dry clean your lungs” – that a “Space Camp” reference?

  56. Nick Macedo

    This is great news. I’ve been following masten for years and am so happy that they are getting recognition and a contract.

  57. Michael Doran

    3:17 What you got there is the Starbug.

  58. Hank Scally

    Spray aluminum pellets into the exhaust to make a landing pad…wonder if that could be scaled up say 500%?
    Elon Musk, Call your office!!

  59. Frequent Flyer

    I’d love to know what the experts have to say re: the crater starship is expected to make upon landing on the moon.

  60. Professor Waffle

    This is an example of what government is good at investing in gov is good at investing in promising but risky technologies and companies that no private investor would be willing to take a risk on im a libertarian mostly but i do believe there is a place for government investment and space exploration is a great example of where gov investment is great !

  61. Papa Frank

    This is great news! Scott, thank you for bringing us rocketry news. Your videos make my day.

  62. bloody_albatross

    8:50 Is that a screenshot of the new weapon in the next Half-Life game? :P

  63. tinkmarshino

    This is so cool how they are incorporating all these smaller businesses into today’s space program.. I like it!

  64. Nicholas Saiz

    It looks like Starbug to me.

  65. Elias Gallegos

    With this amount of companies and agencies going to the moon, we’ll definitely go to stay!!!

  66. Magnus B

    I wish them all the best of luck. But still, they have an “in-space” track record of what? 0?

  67. Doug InOrlando

    One of the first projects for the moon base will be building a rocket landing pad. Perhaps using electricity to heat and compress sifted regolith into blocks. Assemble the interlocking blocks into a flat pad for landings and launches. It could all be done remotely operated from earth using the first payload of hardware (communication gear, solar panels & battery, block heating/compression machine, telecentric mobile dexterous remotely operated machines).

    it would also build a shelter to provide warmth during the 2 week long nights. If at the South Pole, solar panels could be continuously generating electricity.

  68. christosvoskresye

    Plans are easy. Execution is hard. Please let us know when they have made it to the moon.

  69. TheRedstoneHive

    Yay! Masten has been working so hard for this, glad they now have the opportunity!

  70. Shania Monde

    The instant spray painted landing pad is a neat idea, I have always wondered how you were going to do any kind of accurate landing on a dusty surface.

    All the tests of self landing craft are done on lovely perfectly flat concrete pads with plenty of easy to identify landmarks around. When you are on the moon I’d assume the craft will have to use stars to gauge position (for final touchdown I’d think gyros can handle velocity and orientation).

    Putting something like starship down on an unprepared and possibly soft surface is just asking for a rollover, you are putting down with pretty much empty fuel tanks, but full of payload making you top heavy with a very narrrow base and lots of height. Not to mention that the landing legs look pretty spindly, you put one of those in a sand patch and the others on rock … its going over.

    I’d love to see some tests of some of these boosters trying to land on a beach or sand dunes!

  71. Shrike DeCil

    Another weird semi-viable approach:
    Throw the “carpet to land on” out first, *then* land on it. :D “That’s crazy talk” … It really doesn’t even seem that hard. If one searches “coil a band saw blade”, realize those buggers really want to be a circle. Add tungsten mesh sections or alumina-coated mesh … How much fuel to hover for ten seconds?

  72. Drew Christensen

    The Masten XL-1T reminds me of the Viking Mars landers.

  73. B3tanTyronne

    If you take one thing away from all this – the code names this company uses are fantastic.

  74. Pepsi Doggo

    It’s just half a LM Descent Stage

  75. Paul Horn

    Nasa 1969: Landing a human on the moon.
    Nasa 2020: Contract a private company to land a tin can on the moon.

  76. bazoo513

    If thy land near the South pole, perhaps they can find a spot on a crater’s rim that is perpetually lit?

  77. les bowes

    i came here because 3 guys left for the ISS today, i thought Scott would’ve had something to say about it. :/

  78. Aaron B

    Watching these self landing crafts never gets old for me. I love it.

  79. Bak3dChips

    Landing Starship on the moon without any infrastructure would be like landing a 747 on a grass field. Its possible, but not practical. SpaceX could send a lander that takes regolith and make it into a concrete pad that the Starship would land on.

  80. NurmYokai

    Interesting name, XL-1. It’s almost as though someone in the company watched Gerry & Sylvia Anderson shows.
    Fireball XL5 (1962-1963)

  81. Ryan Dehle

    I love the naming scheme of this company. It’s like 7 year old me was asked to name this thing something cool….

  82. Charlie Fox

    I hope you call pull an interview with Masten. He and you should get on really well.

  83. MrGonzonator

    3:17 eh, Scott that’s the Starbug.

  84. Kineth1

    3:40 MXP-351… Mysterious eXperimental Propellant?

    Also, you mentioned it 11 seconds early.

  85. K1productions

    “… or dry clean your lungs”
    Love the Space Camp reference there :P

  86. Benjamin Riches

    7:12 this would be awesome in KSP 2, if they added graphics so you get material lifted up by the engine and inhibits your view when landing, then you could add this as an extra to engines to make your landing spot clear from dust and you can see better when landing😃…

  87. bigratkiller1

    I’ve been watching Masten Space Systems for as long time. I like what they do but i wish they would learn how to spell

  88. Jeff meyer

    When the landing animation played all I could think was” the great granddad of space 1999s Eagle has been born. Masten missed a trick, it wouldn’t take much to look like an Eagle either.

  89. J H

    2:19 _”5 Flights, One Day”,_ more like _”5 Flights, One Hour_ [+10 min]”. That’s pretty awesome!

  90. sjoeroever

    Finally. I love Masten. Following them for ages. Stoked that they where selected for CLPS and that one of their landers will finally land on the Moon.

  91. nagualdesign

    Finally someone shines a light on the fact that Starship-sized landers are going to dig themselves down to the bedrock while spraying tonnes of regolith at high velocity at anything within hundreds of meters.

  92. William Sticker

    Those hover flights on station are impressive.

  93. Michael Williams

    When I look at the Masten website, I see two things which make me think that the XL as a hexagon is the same as the XL shown on the website. The first is that they are testing with bolted components that allow them to easily change the dimensions of their vehicles. The second is the frame of the XL1 T that they show on their website which has eight sides to it. If you shrink the dimension of one of those sides to zero, you get a hexagon similar to the one shown in the press release.

  94. ApolloParks

    According to a friend who used to work there, they’re accuracy was so good that the single biggest variance in each flight was the suspension bouncing in one direction or another

  95. Leon Kane

    “It doesn’t give you cancer or dry clean you lungs”

  96. Rob Speed

    That deposit-your-own-landing-pad idea is fantastic.

  97. aw8tingapproval

    I’m glad to see a wide variety of space agencies and companies now, and that NASA is helping them out!

  98. Quazar501

    Rocket propellants be like:
    “Do you want to live longer or burn harder?”

  99. Edward Nutter

    Now THAT is an innovative idea. Sinter the dirt you’re landing on into a blast resistant pad as you hover above it so you won’t blast a big hole.

  100. Martin Cnossen

    So basically one of the first things we should do is build a landing pad on the moon right?

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