Masten Space Systems began the process of filing for bankruptcy on Thursday, telling a Delaware court that it owed millions in liabilities to companies including SpaceX, Astrobotic, NuSpace and others.
Masten Space, a startup founded in 2004, had ambitions to send a lander to the Moon as early as next year. The company was selected by NASA under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program to deliver eight payloads to the lunar surface. That contract was for $75.9 million. The agency also tapped Masten for a separate lunar mission to collect moon-based resource for return to Earth.
More recently, the company said it was developing a GPS-like navigation system for the Moon, part of a contract awarded through the Air Force Research Laboratory’s AFWERX program.
According to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, Masten estimated that it had between 50-99 creditors, between $10 million-$50 million in assets, and between $10 million-$50 million in liabilities. The Chapter 11 request was signed by David Masten, President and CTO of the company. The filing breaks down the exact amount Masten owes its creditors: the largest amount to SpaceX, for $4.6 million; $2.7 million to Psionic; $2.7 to Astrobotic; and $1.6 to NuSpace. An additional 16 creditors are listed on the application.
The company will be selling its launch credit with SpaceX (SpaceX was selected to send Masten’s XL-1 lander to the Moon) to Intuitive Machines, one of its competitors.
TechCrunch has reached out to Masten Space for comment and will update the story if it responds. The filing was made in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, case number 22-10657.
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