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Xogdor Is Not Some Lord of the Rings Character, But a New Reusable Rocket

The concept of reusable rockets and other such space vehicles is no longer something we can only dream of. Thanks to companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, space exploration has entered a new age, and it’s likely it will only accelerate from now on. Especially given how there are others at work doing the same thing, albeit less visibly than those two companies.
Masten Xogdor rocket 8 photos
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Flying more under the radar than SpaceX or BlueOrigin, at least as far as media coverage is concerned, Masten Space Systems has been around since 2004, and has been responsible since then for “more than 600 rocket-powered landings across five reusable vehicles.” And soon, a sixth such machine will call the party.

This one is called Xogdor, and no, it’s not some Lord of the Rings character or place, but a new rocket named in the purest Masten style – the others wear monikers like Xoie, Xaero, or Xodiac.

Designed to fly higher, longer, and faster than existing systems, Xogdor will be used from 2023, when it is expected to be ready, to “validate and mature critical Artemis technologies,” being thus of major importance for the lunar exploration program.

Work on the new rocket just began, but there are a few things we already know about it. For instance, the rocket should be capable of testing descent and landing technologies at 447 mph (719 kph), the highest speed in the Masten fleet.

If need be, the vehicle should be capable of going supersonic, reaching Mach 3.5 on the way up as a means for it to pass the Karman Line, the (mostly) agreed upon boundary to space (100 km/62 miles up). The rocket should be capable of carrying 200 kg (441 pounds) of cargo.

Masten says it plans to use this vehicle to the exact needs of the customers, and it is even considering taking off from a certain spaceport and landing on another, effectively opening the doors to orbital or suborbital point to point transportation of cargo.

Editor's note: Gallery shows the proposed Masten Rocket Mining System for the Moon.

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