Masten Space Systems has unveiled the long-awaited latest iteration of its reusable Xaero suborbital vehicle, the Xaero-B.

The Xaero-B, powered by a liquid-fuelled Scimitar rocket engine, is roughly 1m taller than its predecessor, with a correspondingly larger payload volume atop the vehicle.

The vehicle will initially fly up to 19,700ft (6,000m) on test flights before landing vertically at its launch site, but it is designed for flights far higher - its less-capable predecessor was designed to reach altitudes of 30km.

"For the time being, Xaero-B will be headed through static hot-fire testing, followed by initial tether flights, and then she'll break into free flight," says Masten.

While Masten has previously discussed the Xaero-B and some of its components, the unveiling marks the first public showing of the vehicle. Masten has no immediate comment, and further details are currently unavailable.

The first Xaero was destroyed in September 2012 by an engine valve malfunction during landing.

Source: Flight International