NASA has partnered with 14 American companies to address technology areas such as cryogenic propellant production and sustainable energy generation, in order to assist the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.
The partnerships have a combined total award value of approximately $43.2m and will help bring the technologies to market and ready them for use by NASA.
“These promising technologies are at a ‘tipping point’ in their development, meaning NASA’s investment is likely the extra push a company needs to significantly mature a capability,” said Jim Reuter, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
“These are important technologies necessary for sustained exploration of the Moon and Mars.”
“As the agency focuses on landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis programme, we continue to prepare for the next phase of lunar exploration that feeds forward to Mars.”
Some of the companies awarded for their technologies in the Moon to Mars exploration include:
Blue Origin LLC, Kent, Washington, $10m.
A ground demonstration of hydrogen and oxygen liquefaction and storage, representing rocket and spacecraft propellant that could be produced on the Moon. The demonstration could help inform a large-scale propellant production plant sustainable for the lunar surface.
OxEon Energy LLC, North Salt Lake, Utah, $1.8m
OxEon Energy will work with the Colorado School of Mines to integrate an electrolysis technology to process ice and separate the hydrogen and oxygen. The molecules could be cooled to produce fuel for cislunar transport.
Skyre Inc, East Hartford, Connecticut, $2.6m
Skyre, also known as Sustainable Innovations, along with partner Meta Vista USA LLC, will develop a system to make propellant from permanently frozen water located at the Moon’s poles, including processes to separate hydrogen and oxygen, keep the product extremely cold and use hydrogen as a refrigerant to liquify oxygen.
Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Inc., Windsor, Connecticut, $4m
The company will collaborate with NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston to develop scalable, modular and flexible power and energy product that utilises new manufacturing methods to reduce cost and improve reliability. The technology could be used for lunar rovers, surface equipment and habitats.
Other selected companies include: Luna Innovations, Intuitive Machines LCC, Astrobotic Technology, Blue Canyon Technologies, ExoTerra Resource LCC, CU Aerospace LLC, Accion Systems Inc., TallannQuest LLC., SpaceX, and Paragon Space Development Corporation.