Talking Points Memo: Masten Space Systems is ahead of schedule regarding test flights of its Xombie rocket system. The 730-lb rocket is a vertical takeoff and landing craft that Masten is making available to host scientific equipment. The company is offering customers two possible short, low-altitude flights: a 500-m vertical climb or a 51-m horizontal flight across the launch site. Xombie has previously demonstrated its capabilities by claiming second in the Lunar Lander Challenge X Prize. It also has the unique ability to shut off and re-light its engine in midflight. Masten currently operates two heavier rockets as well and has a fourth one in development. All of the craft are designed as landing test beds and for suborbital flights. The company, which was founded in 2009, is primarily funded by customers and private investors, according to Colin Ake, Masten’s director of business development.