NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: H2.01-8473 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 013526 )
PROPOSAL TITLE:
Lunar Regolith Processing System (LRPS)

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
ORBITEC proposes to develop an integrated lunar regolith processing system (LRPS) to produce oxygen and a variety of other useful materials to support future lunar exploration activities. The LRPS utilizes carbothermal reduction of regolith via a direct energy source to extract oxygen, silicon, iron, ceramics, and other useful by-products from lunar regolith. The LRPS products would be used for life support, propellant applications, solar cells (Si), electric wire or metal parts (Fe) and other infrastructure development (e.g. ceramics/bricks, fibers for composites, etc.). The LRPS concept eliminates many of the problems found with other lunar oxygen production approaches, such as the continuous need for high-temperature containers from Earth, reagents that are consumed during processing, and extensive beneficiation of the lunar regolith prior to processing. The LRPS would be designed to operate virtually anywhere on the surface of the Moon and the technology could be extended for use on Mars or various asteroids. Phase I will involve definition of system requirements, prototype design and testing, and research and design of the support systems. Phase II will involve design, development, and testing of a prototype LRPS unit.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The results of this effort are applicable to future exploration and/or colonization missions to the Moon and beyond. Efficient and reliable production of oxygen and metals on the Moon will enhance and/or enable a variety of solar system exploration programs by providing a very cost-effective supply of oxygen for propulsion and life support in addition to other raw materials. The LRPS products would be used for life support, propellant applications, solar cells (Si), electric wire or metal parts (Fe) and other infrastructure development (e.g. ceramics/bricks, fibers for composites, etc.). Development of technologies required for the processing of carbon monoxide could lead to methods of removing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere both in space and terrestrial atmospheres, and in support of reducing harmful emissions from waste streams. Processes that are developed and demonstrated here for oxygen production from CO/CO2 may have direct application for terraforming the atmosphere of Mars.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert J. Gustafson
Orbital Technologies Corporation
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI   53717 - 1961

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Orbital Technologies Corporation
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI   53717 - 1961


Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44