Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

The Rocket Man Who Wants To Beat the Billionaires

Dave Masten stares at his computer screen, finger poised over the mouse button. He knows that opening this email, sent by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s advanced technology lab, will change his life. One way or the other.

This email is the fulcrum of his future. It is either an acceptance letter or a rejection letter for his company’s proposal to build what DARPA calls XS-1: an experimental unmanned space plane that can fly ten times in ten days, reaching a speed of Mach 10–plus and lifting payloads greater than three thousand pounds to orbit, at a cost of no more than $5 million per flight. Being accepted as one of the three competing contractors represents the best shot that Dave Masten—perennial underdog, Silicon Valley refugee, scrappy space-industry entrepreneur—will have to build a working spacecraft. It would mean an immediate infusion of $3 million, with more coming the next year. The final contract could be worth as much as $140 million.

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See on Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily


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