NASA Funds 3 Small Business Projects Focused on In-situ Use of Lunar Resources

Astronaut working on the moon (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected three companies to continue development of technologies that will allow Artemis astronauts to extract oxygen from and 3D print parts using lunar regolith under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The Phase II awards to Blueshift, L’Garde and Air Squared are worth up to $750,000 apiece over 24 months. Each company previously received Phase I awards to begin developing the technologies.

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ESRIC Unveils First Five Start-ups Selected as Part of “Start-up Support Programme”

ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE, Luxembourg (ESRIC PR) — Following the first call for applications, the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) has selected the five start-ups to participate in the “Start-up Support Programme” (SSP) and begin their pre-incubation in April 2022.

Based in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg, ESRIC is Europe’s leading research and innovation centre in the field of space resources. Launched in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), and Technoport (Luxembourg’s main technology incubator), ESRIC’s Start-up Support Programme (SSP) aims to support early-stage start-ups in the space resources sector, to develop their business models, attract their first customers and secure their first investments. Targeting terrestrial and/or space applications, the Start-up Support Programme is managed jointly with ESA.

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New UK Space Funds to Pioneer New Approaches to Energy, Communication and Resources

British space technology will help pioneer new approaches to energy, communications and resources, thanks to new projects from the UK Space Agency

LONDON (UK Space Agency PR) — Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman announced the £2 million boost for 13 new projects during British Science Week (11-20 March), which aims to inspire interest in and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths for people of all ages.

The projects include Rolls-Royce developing a power station for space that could power the generation of water, breathable oxygen and fuels for solar exploration.

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Team Chosen to Make First Oxygen on the Moon

The European Large Logistic Lander touches down on the moon. (Credit: ESA/ATG-Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Following a competition, ESA has selected the industrial team that will design and build the first experimental payload to extract oxygen from the surface of the Moon. The winning consortium, led by Thales Alenia Space in the UK, has been tasked with producing a small piece of equipment that will evaluate the prospect of building larger lunar plants to extract propellant for spacecraft and breathable air for astronauts – as well as metallic raw materials for equipment.

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NSF Awards Grant to Emerging Futures to Develop Lunar Landing Pad Material

Portland, Ore., March 10, 2022 (Emerging Futures PR) — Emerging Futures, LLC, a research and analysis consultancy focused on climate change mitigation and the commercial expansion of space, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) 2021-2022 Phase I Grant from the National Science Foundation.

This Grant enables Emerging Futures to continue developing its PolyBrick™ polymer-regolith composite lunar landing pad concept. This innovative, sustainable, and scalable material will be constructed entirely from lunar materials.

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NASA Funds Research into Advanced Oxygen Generation on Mars

Graphic depiction of Breathing Mars Air: Stationary and Portable O2 Generation. (Credits: Ivan Ermanoski)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into a system capable of generating oxygen on Mars far more efficiently than the one the space agency tested aboard the Curiosity rover.

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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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TsNIIMash Developed Experiment to Search for Resources on the Moon

A data visualization showing the area near the lunar South Pole on a ridge not far from Shackleton – the large crater on the right – selected as the landing site for Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander, which will deliver technology demonstrations to the Moon’s surface under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. The conditions at the site offer the best chance of success for three technology demonstrations onboard. (Credits: NASA)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Federal Space Program of Russia for 2016–2025 provides for the launch in 2024 of the automatic interplanetary station Luna-26, designed for remote studies of the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite from a circumlunar polar orbit. Among the tasks of the station are mapping the mineralogical composition and mapping the distribution of water ice on the Moon.

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Five Space Station Research Results Contributing to Deep Space Exploration

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst works on the MICS experiment aboard the International Space Station. Observations of how cement reacts in space during the hardening process may help engineers better understand its microstructure and material properties, which could improve cement processing techniques on Earth and lead to the design of safe, lightweight space habitats. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — More than 3,000 experiments have been conducted aboard the  International Space Station during the 21 years humans have been living and working in space. These experiments have provided insights helping improve life back on Earth and explore farther into the solar system. Researchers have shared these results in thousands of scientific publications.

Over the past few months, scientists shared the outcomes of space station studies that could help us recover more water from life support systems, construct Moon bases, grow plants in space, and more.

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New Composite Material Could Make Manufacturing on the Moon and Mars More Efficient

Above: An experimental composite material for the Moon/Mars cures inside an acrylic vacuum chamber. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawai’i (PISCES PR) — NASA has plans to put humans back on the Moon as early as 2025 and ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) will be a crucial technology for establishing the infrastructure needed to sustain humans in the harsh lunar environment. Using raw, native materials, ISRU can provide vital resources like breathable air, tools or building blocks for shelters.

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Lunar Resources to Mine Metals on the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (Lunar Resources PR) – Recent awards from NASA and the National Science Foundation have created a path forward for Houston-based Lunar Resources, Inc., to perform mining of oxygen and metals on the Moon as early as 2024.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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NASA Selects Nine Space Technologies for Commercial Suborbital Flight Tests

Carthage College student Nicolas Welker prepares to start a zero-gravity transfer of propellant simulant during a flight on Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE on Nov. 16, 2021. The flight enabled testing of technology designed to gauge propellant levels during on-orbit refueling and transfer operations. (Credits: Zero Gravity Corporation/Steve Boxall)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine space technologies under the agency’s 2021 TechFlights solicitation for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems.

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