ESRIC-ESA Space Resources Challenge: Getting Ready for Moon Prospection

Credit: ESRIC

European Space Agency (ESA) & European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) challenged European and Canadian engineering teams to develop vehicles capable of prospecting resources within a testbed of the Moon’s shadowy polar regions. Five winners are receiving development grants of 75 000€ each to move their rovers forward to the next phase of the contest, to be held in Luxembourg in September 2022.

BELVAUX, Luxembourg (ESRIC PR) — It is 2028. The European Large Logistic Lander just descended in the area between the Shoemaker and Faustini crater in the South Pole region of the Moon. The mission:  to characterise and locate resources (water and metals..) and produce an accurate map of the little impact crater a few hundred meters from the lander, to make a first resource map to guide future missions… We’re not there yet, but this mission scenario is very close to what a future European mission could look like.

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ESA Ends Cooperation with Russia on 3 Lunar Missions, Deepens Cooperation with U.S. & Japan

PARIS (ESA PR) — Following the Russian aggression against Ukraine, ESA’s Director General has initiated a comprehensive review of all activities currently undertaken in cooperation with Russia and Ukraine. The objective is to determine the possible consequences of this new geopolitical context for ESA programmes and activities and to create a more resilient and robust space infrastructure for Europe.

The ESA Council on 13 April acknowledged the following findings and took the following decisions.

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European Lunar Scientists and Engineers Design Moon Cave Explorer

ESA gathered a spectrum of experts in many different areas of science and engineering to design a mission to enter a pit on the Moon’s surface and explore the entrance to a lunar cave. The key parts of the mission would be a crane attached to a rover, and a probe that is lowered by the crane into the pit. (Credit: ESA/Vigea)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Lunar caves are not only a geologically pristine record of the Moon’s history, but they could also provide a safe home for future human explorers. Building upon ESA Discovery’s OSIP call and SysNova challenge, ESA gathered a spectrum of over 60 experts in many different areas of science and engineering to design a mission to enter a pit on the Moon’s surface and explore the entrance to a lunar cave.

The Moon is dotted with pits that scientists think could lead to huge underground tunnels. But a space mission has never been sent to explore what could lie within.

“A view into the interior of a lunar cave would be true exploration – it would reveal unexpected scientific information,” says Francesco Sauro, cave scientist and planetary lava tube expert, as well as technical course director of ESA CAVES and PANGAEA.

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Thales Alenia Space Wins Study Contract to Develop Payload to Extract Oxygen on the Moon

Lunar lander with in-situ resource utilization system to extract oxygen from regolith. (Credit: Redwire Space Europe)

Selected by the European Space Agency, Thales Alenia Space leads study to develop a demonstration payload to extract oxygen from Moon rock

BRISTOL, UK, February 23, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has signed a study contract with the European Space Agency worth one million euros for a payload concept to extract oxygen from Moon rock.

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Airbus Studies “Moon Cruiser” Concept for ESA’s Cis-lunar Transfer Vehicle

CLTV concept from Airbus Moon Cruiser at the lunar Gateway. (Credit: Airbus)

Versatile, autonomous logistics vehicle to support future lunar missions based on heritage from Orion ESM and ATV

Toulouse, 28 January 2021 – Airbus has been awarded a CLTV (Cis-Lunar Transfer Vehicle) study for a “Moon Cruiser” by the European Space Agency (ESA). According to the study concept (two parallel Phase A/B1), the CLTV is a versatile, autonomous logistics vehicle that could, for example, provide timely and efficient support to NASA and ESA in the implementation of the future Artemis Moon missions. The spacecraft will be based on existing and proven technologies and will complement the multipurpose European Large Logistic Lander (EL3).

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Airbus Selected for ESA’s Moon Lander Study

Airbus will develop the concept of a large multi-role logistic lander able to transport up to 1.7 tons of cargo to any location on the lunar surface. (Credit: Airbus)
  • A new decade of European exploration – to the Moon and Mars
  • Airbus to design the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3)
  • EL3 to deliver scientific or logistic payloads to lunar surface
  • European service offering to NASA

BREMEN, Germany, 14 October 2020 (Airbus PR) – Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of the two primes for the definition phase of the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3). In this study (phase A/B1), Airbus will develop the concept of a large multi-role logistic lander able to transport up to 1.7 tons of cargo to any location on the lunar surface. EL3 flights are set to begin in the late 2020s, with a cadence of missions over the following decade and more.

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ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space to Build Two Modules for Lunar Gateway

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

Turin, October, 14 2020 – Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), will develop two key modules for the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform–Gateway (LOP-G): I-HAB (International Habitat) and the ESPRIT communications and refueling module.

These two modules are the European contribution for this Gateway. The first tranche of I-HAB contract, (worth 36 million euros, the global amount being 327 million euros), has been signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), while ESPRIT development has already started under Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with a contract signature expected by the end of the year.

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Helping Heracles EL3 to Survive the Long, Cold, Dark Lunar Nights

Heracles lander and rover (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA has kicked off an activity with Prototec – a NORCE company – and its partners Airbus and Air Liquide to develop alternative technologies for surviving the lunar night

When the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3) lands on the Moon, some of its cargo might require to survive the lunar night that lasts up to two weeks on Earth.

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