Carbothermal Lunar Regolith Processing System (CLRPS)

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS9-03021
Agency Tracking Number: 024255
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, 53717
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Gustafson
 (608) 827-5000
Business Contact
 Eric Rice
Title: President & CEO
Phone: (608) 827-5000
Research Institution
ORBITEC proposes to develop an integrated carbothermal lunar regolith processing system (CLRPS) to produce oxygen and a variety of other useful materials to support future lunar exploration activities. The CLRPS 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 CLRPS 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 CLRPS 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 CLRPS 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 prototype design and testing, research and design of the support systems, and investigation of available direct energy heating sources. Phase II will involve design, development, and testing of a closed-loop prototype CLRPS unit.

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

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