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High-Fidelity Lunar Dust Simulant

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / 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 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: High-Fidelity Lunar Dust Simulant
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX09CB40C
Award Amount: $600,000.00


The severity of the lunar dust problems encountered during the Apollo missions were consistently underestimated by ground tests, illustrating the need to develop significantly better lunar dust simulants and simulation facilities. ORBITEC is proposing to continue developing high-fidelity lunar dust simulants that better match the unique properties of lunar dust than existing regolith simulants (such as JSC-1AF). Current lunar regolith simulants do not have enough of the very fine particles, most lack the agglutinitic glass and complex surface textures that dominate lunar dust, and none of them have nanophase iron (Fe0). High-fidelity lunar dust simulants approximate the size, morphology, composition, and other important properties of lunar dust (including nanophase Fe0). High-fidelity lunar dust simulants are required to physically evaluate the effects of lunar dust on the operation of all Exploration Surface Systems and to verify the effectiveness of dust mitigation strategies and technologies. During Phase 1, several prototype lunar dust simulants were created, samples of the prototype lunar dust simulants were delivered to NASA for characterization (TRL 4). The proposed Phase 2 effort will refine and demonstrate the production process for lunar dust simulants that will be characterized and delivered to NASA for a variety of applications (TRL 6).

Principal Investigator:

Robert J. Gustafson
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Robert J. Gustafson
Principal Aerospace Engineer
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI 53717

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