The past month has been a very busy one at Masten Space Systems. As Ian mentioned in a previous post, the timeline for getting XA-0.2 built, debugged, and flying in time for the X-Prize is fairly tight. While we designed in a little bit of slack to deal with minor delays, we unfortunately ran into a more serious delay that is going to preclude us from competing in the X-Prize Cup this year. We were informed late last week by the company spinning and welding the propellant tanks for XA-0.2, that the tanks had failed their hydrotest by a very large margin. The tanks failed right on the weld at less than half of the designed operating pressure, and it appears that a poor weld with incomplete penetration was the culprit.
Unfortunately by this time, this particular supplier was also nearly three weeks behind schedule, so there isn’t any feasible way we can have a backup plan ready to go in time for the competition.
We’ve started work on another set of tanks, using a different set of manufacturers, to allow us to complete XA-0.2 for further development testing.