Lunar In-Situ Volatile Extraction

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNJ06JD80C
Agency Tracking Number: 053957
Amount: $69,983.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: X9.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
5700 Flatiron Parkway, #5701A, Boulder, CO, 80301-5733
DUNS: 933677452
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Nieczkoski
 Principal Investigator
 (303) 443-2262
Business Contact
 Rolf Baumgartner
Title: Business Official
Phone: (303) 443-2262
Research Institution
A method of extracting volatile resources from the Lunar regolith is proposed to reduce the launch mass and cost of bringing such resources from the Earth to enable sustainable human space exploration. Thermal energy is applied to excavated soil releasing the solar wind volatiles and any water resources believed to exist in the Moon's polar regions. The in-situ resource extraction and separation system will be designed to integrate with TAI's planned in-situ collection and purification system to complete an end-to-end facility for producing high density fluids for propulsion, life support, and power generation. Regolith excavation and subsequent volatile production rates are derived from the baseline consumption of resources given in the point of departure mission information for proposals. A method of extracting volatiles in a fluidized, vacuum-isolated chamber will provide an energy-efficient process through effective recuperation of thermal energy. Several hundreds of times the excavation and extraction system mass in volatile product will be processed in the proposed concept per year of operation. The system design will be scalable for initial testing on the Moon and eventual operation on Mars.

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

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