Masten Space Systems has been chosen by NASA to receive two Tipping Point awards as part of the space agency’s Artemis mission to return to the moon by 2024.

The Mojave commercial space company said it will develop a chemical heating solution to help spacecraft survive in sunlight-deprived lunar environments and drive completion of an aerospace testbed named Xogdor, to provide a flight test equivalent for critical Artemis technologies.


“It’s an honor to be in such great company with all these amazing awards as NASA’s forward-looking Space Technology Mission Directorate steps up to fund the private companies who are producing out-of-the-box innovations that will take America back to the moon,” Masten Chief Executive Sean Mahoney said in a statement.


A technology is considered at a tipping point if an investment in a demonstration will significantly mature the technology and bring the technology to market for both government and commercial applications.


In partnership with Pennsylvania State University, Masten will mature its metal oxidation warning system that allows spacecraft systems to survive the lunar night and operate in shadowed lunar regions.


Masten will bring the Xogdor test vehicle to operational service to provide an updated system for testing aerospace technologies in a relevant flight environment. Over this three-year project, Masten will complete the development and flight testing of a Xogdor vehicle.

Dave Masten, chief technology officer, said that Xogdor will become the space industry’s state-of-the-art testbed.

“Through this Masten-NASA partnership, Xogdor will be available to test critical Artemis technologies, including hazard detection instruments, precision landing avionics, innovative flight software, Plume Surface Interaction experiments and other critical EDL (Entry, Descent, Landing) experiments as early as 2023,” Masten said in a statement.