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NASA Selects Pioneer Astronautics to Test Dust Repellent Coating for Lunar Surface Missions

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 29, 2022
Blue Ghost lunar lander (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Pioneer Astronautics will test the effectiveness of a dust repellant on an upcoming lunar mission under an agreement with NASA, the company announced on Thursday.

“Dust mitigation is a critical challenge facing both private and public lunar surface missions,” said Dr. Robert Zubrin, President, Pioneer Astronautics. “This partnership with NASA provides a unique opportunity to test our dust repellent technology under real space conditions, providing critical data for the continued development of this technology to support further lunar exploration and future habitation.”

The company, which is part of Voyager Space, will test its Clear Dust Repellant Coating (CDRC) technology under a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

“Pioneer Astronautics will apply the coating to the outer surface of an existing EVA suit. The EVA suit material with CDRC will be packaged to fit on a sample container that will be incorporated into the Regolith Adherence Characterization (RAC) payload planned to launch on an awarded NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) task order with Firefly Aerospace Inc. Pioneer Astronautics will gather data on the efficacy of the coating following mission completion,” the company said in a press release.

Firefly Aerospace will launch RAC and nine other payloads payloads to the lunar surface aboard its Blue Ghost lander in 2024. RAC will determine how lunar regolith sticks to a range of materials during different phases of flight. Johnnie Engelhardt of Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance in Houston is RAC’s principal investigator.

“We are incredibly excited about this agreement as it represents Voyager’s first lunar mission,” said Mike Bowker, Vice President of Business Development, Voyager. “Pioneer’s dust repellent coating has the potential to transform hardware operations on the Moon while also offering opportunities to support numerous industrial bases on Earth. Voyager hopes to play a key role in lunar exploration and Pioneer’s work is a critical first step.”

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