MSS Now Taking Sales

I figured that it’d be worth noting that as of today, MSS is now taking sales for suborbital science payloads. We have a special introductory offer for CANSAT sized payloads of only $99 each (normal price will likely be $199 each). CANSATs are packages that have the volume, form factor, and density of a can of pop. Two things that Michael doesn’t mention on the site is that at this point it looks like all CANSATs will be positioned such that they will have a direct line of sight to the sky when the payload bay doors open at apogee, so all will be exposed to vacuum, and all will be able to see out axially. The other thing he doesn’t mention is that we may be providing USB and maybe power for each of these. While intended for K-12 educational markets, these CANSATs would probably be a pretty cool electronics hacking project for kids in their twenties or thirties. Anyone up to building an ameteur interferometer?

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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8 Responses to MSS Now Taking Sales

  1. Anonymous says:

    I see the new simulation movie you have up on the Masten website. Looks pretty cool.

    The first time I saw your vehicle design tho, I immediately thought of pneumatically-assisted launch — blowing the vehicle out of a tube like a bullet from a gun in order to gain some initial velocity. The sort of thing that
    http://www.skyramp.org is talking about.

    Is that something you have in mind, or a trade secret you want to keep quiet about? It’s probably not the sort of thing you want to start off building for; but it is worthwhile to consider anyway.

    –Carl.

  2. Jon Goff says:

    Carl,
    The amount of extra velocity you can get with such a system compared to the cost (including design cost for beefing up the vehicle, fixed cost of building and settin up such a cannon, operating costs of maintaing all the stuff needed) just doesn’t make any sense. I’m not even sure if pneumatic assists really make sense for orbital designs. The increased delta-V is way too low to justify the added cost and far reduced flexibility.

    Nah, we’ll stick with plain ol’ rocket engines for take-off and landing.

    ~Jon

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, $99 buck to fly to space!

    Would you please confirm the availability of power at this price?

    Thanks!

  4. Iain McClatchie says:

    Jon,

    I have another blog post coming on the subject of catapult gain. Bottom line: 100 m/s vertical is worth 15% more payload to 200km LEO, and it scales up less than linearly.

    Are there any questions you have that I should specifically address?

    Not that I think pneumatic launch makes any sense either. But steam rockets might.

    -Iain

  5. Jon Goff says:

    anonymous,
    Yeah, we intend to provide at least some power to all payloads that require it. Bare minimum there will be the power that comes with the USB port, and we’re looking into what’s the best way of handling higher power requirements. Let us know what you need and we’ll figure out if there’s a good way of doing it. Unfortunately we don’t have all the specifics yet, but if we find something is in popular demand at this point, we can find a way to accomodate it.

    ~Jon

  6. Jon Goff says:

    Iain,
    It’d be interesting to see what you could come up with. Once you’ve bitten off the complexity of a TSTO VTVL system though, I really wonder if trying to add a “dumb” steam first stage is really worth the effort compared to just making the stage 1 tanks a bit bigger and adding another engine or two.

    ~Jon

  7. Iain McClatchie says:

    Jon,

    Have fun at Space Access. Definitely the right time for Masten to start selling… space access!

    The null hypothesis to any add-another-X scheme is just scaling up an existing TSTO. Scaling would appear to have the overwhelming benefit of less NRE is a industry whose costs are dominated by NRE.

    But I’m not so sure the NRE really is lower for scaling. If it were so compelling, why do so many rockets (Titan, Delta, Atlas, Atlas V) end up festooned with solid rockets as their payloads grow over time?

    I’ll note that the Soviets haven’t taken to sticking solids on everything they launch. This could be because they never mastered building big solids. The U.S. is actually pretty good at big solids. I’m thinking steam rockets could be the cheap SRB to cheap LOX/Kero launchers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Question, when would my 99$ fly ? 😉

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