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Planetary Volatiles Extractor for In-Situ Resource Utilization

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX16CJ17C
Agency Tracking Number: 154333
Amount: $749,927.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: H1.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-04-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-04-19
Small Business Information
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205-1070
United States
DUNS: 131364820
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kris Zacny
 Principal Investigator
 (510) 207-4555
Business Contact
 Chris Chapman
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (510) 207-4555
Research Institution

In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) or ?living off the land relies on exploiting local resources and in turn reducing burden of transporting supplies. NASA has determined through various studies that ISRU will be critical for both robotic and human exploration of the Solar System. ISRU is also viewed by commercial Space companies as a significant source of revenue; volatiles (mainly water) could be mined and sold as Hydrogen/Oxygen fuel to satellite operators to extend spacecraft life.

Traditional ISRU architecture follows methods employed in the mining industry on earth: material is mined, crushed, transported, crushed again, processed, and waste is disposed of. However, mining concrete-hard ice and icy-soil is difficult without using explosives. Volatiles will get lost during crushing and transportation, and robotic material handling, as shown by the 2008 Mars Phoenix mission, is difficult. For these reasons, we propose the Planetary Volatiles Extractor (PVEx) Corer, which uses a drill based excavation approach and an integrated volatiles extraction plant. PVEx successfully addresses several aspects: drills can penetrate hard materials, there is no need for material crushing and transfer, if volatiles sublime, they will flow directly into the capture system. PVEx can also work with hydrated minerals.

Under the SBIR Phase 2 we propose to mature the technology from TRL 4 to TRL 5/6, and in turn ready the system for NASA's next HEOMD and SMD missions, as well as commercial planetary missions.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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