Lunar Soil Particle Separator

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$599,827.00
Award Year:
2010
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNX10CA45C
Agency Tracking Number:
084172
Solicitation Year:
2008
Solicitation Topic Code:
X3.03
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A, Lakewood, CO, 80215-5516
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
120561456
Principal Investigator:
Mark Berggren
Principal Investigator
(303) 980-0231
mberggren@pioneerastro.com
Business Contact:
Robert Zubrin
Business Official
(303) 303-0890
zubrin@aol.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
The Lunar Soil Particle Separator (LSPS) is an innovative method to beneficiate soil prior to in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). The LSPS can improve ISRU oxygen yield by boosting the concentration of ilmenite or other iron-oxide bearing materials found in lunar soils. This can substantially reduce hydrogen reduction reactor size and drastically decrease the power input required for soil heating. LSPS particle size separations can be performed to de-dust regolith and to improve ISRU reactor flow dynamics. LSPS mineral separations can be used to alter the sintering characteristics of lunar soil. The LSPS can also be used to separate and concentrate lunar minerals useful for manufacture of structural materials, glass, and chemicals. The LSPS integrates an initial centrifugal particle size separation with magnetic, gravity, and electrostatic separations. The LSPS centrifugal separation method overcomes the reduced efficiency of conventional particle sieving in reduced gravity. The LSPS hardware design integrates many individual unit operations to reduce system mass and power requirements. The LSPS is applicable to ISRU feed processing as well as robotic prospecting to characterize soils over wide regions on the Moon. The LSPS is scalable and is amenable to testing and development in vacuum and reduced gravity.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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