High-Fidelity Lunar Dust Simulant

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CB40C
Agency Tracking Number: 074294
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: X7.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, 53717-1961
DUNS: 196894869
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Gustafson
 Principal Investigator
 (608) 827-5000
Business Contact
 Robert Gustafson
Title: Principal Aerospace Engineer
Phone: (608) 229-2725
Email: gustafsonr@orbitec.com
Research Institution
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).

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

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