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Lunar Regolith Processing System (LRPS)

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITE
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI 53717-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Lunar Regolith Processing System (LRPS)
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS10-01059
Award Amount: $70,000.00


ORBITEC proposes to develop an integrated lunar regolith processing system (LRPS) to produce oxygen and a variety of other useful materials to support future lunar exploration activities. The LRPS utilizes carbothermal reduction of regolith via a direct energy source to extract oxygen, silicon, iron, ceramics, and other useful by-products from lunar regolith. The LRPS products would be used for life support, propellant applications, solar cells (Si), electric wire or metal parts (Fe) and other infrastructure development (e.g. ceramics/bricks, fibers for composites, etc.). The LRPS concept eliminates many of the problems found with other lunar oxygen production approaches, such as the continuous need for high-temperature containers from Earth, reagents that are consumed during processing, and extensive beneficiation of the lunar regolith prior to processing. The LRPS would be designed to operate virtually anywhere on the surface of the Moon and the technology could be extended for use on Mars or various asteroids. Phase I will involve definition of system requirements, prototype design and testing, and research and design of the support systems. Phase II will involve design, development, and testing of a prototype LRPS unit.

Principal Investigator:

Robert J. Gustafson
Lead Aerospace Engineer

Business Contact:

Eric Rice
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Technologies Corporation
1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI 53717

EIN/Tax ID: 391628664
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No