Lunar Regolith Processing System (LRPS)

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS10-01059
Agency Tracking Number: 013526
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Orbital Technologies Corporation
1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, 53717
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Gustafson
 Lead Aerospace Engineer
 (608) 827-5000
 gustafsonr@orbitec.com
Business Contact
 Eric Rice
Title: President/CEO
Phone: (608) 827-5000
Email: ricee@orbitec.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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