Astroport Space Awarded Second NASA Contract to Develop Landing Pads for Lunar Mission

Astroport Space Awarded Second NASA Contract to Develop Landing Pads for Lunar Mission

Astroport Space Technologies has been awarded its second NASA Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract for the construction of landing pads on the Moon.

Astroport and its research partner, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), will develop geotechnical engineering processes for "Lunar Surface Site Preparation for Landing/Launch Pad and Blast Shield Construction" with a focus on "regolith works" for bulk regolith excavation and movement.  The project will build on Astroport's previous Phase 1 STTR-21 work on regolith melting technologies and robotic bricklaying systems for lunar infrastructure construction.

The new research will describe a multi-step Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for "regolith works" executed by multiple machines operating autonomously or in remote control mode with step sequencing/timing to enable machine-to-machine collaboration.  In particular, it will define conveyance techniques and sorting and filtering processes to prepare and deliver excavated regolith to Astroport's Lunatron bricklayer system.

The project will utilize space civil engineering expertise from the University of Adelaide's Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources (ATCSR) in Australia.  Venturi Astrolab of Hawthorne, CA, will provide consulting support for integration into the overall system architecture of their FLEX rover as a baseline robotic mobility platform operating a suite of excavation tools.

ATCSR is one of a handful of organizations globally that has focused on the development of "space civil engineering" processes for planetary construction. ATCSR has developed numerical modeling to represent the geotechnical behavior of the natural lunar regolith when subjected to load in a lunar environment. This numerical representation facilitates the modeling of a range of lunar construction activities, such as vehicular movement, excavation, and compaction.

Astroport's Founder/CEO and Space Architect, Sam Ximenes said, "We are pleased that NASA continues to place confidence in our team's ability to define and develop technologies and processes for lunar infrastructure construction. Under this new contract, the Astroport team will continue its work on the overall construction system architecture that we have started last year.  Our objectives are to advance the state-of-art with geotechnical engineering and civil engineering processes for bulk regolith manipulation using a "regolith works" toolset for preparation of the lunar launch/landing site".

Principal investigator for UTSA, Dr. Sazzad Bin-Shafique, said "This research is a natural progression of the University's regolith liquefaction investigations, in that the Phase 1 study will develop discreet-event modeling of the bulk regolith conveyance methods to help determine feeds rates for Astroport's Lunatron™ bricklayer system." 

UTSA co-principal investigator, Dr. Ibukun Awolusi, Assistant Professor of Construction Science and Management stated that "Leveraging innovative technologies and systems such as those proposed in this study offers remarkable opportunities for the use of lunar materials, construction processes, and our efforts toward achieving space sustainability."

John Culton, Director of the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources at the University of Adelaide said, "ATCSR is proud to support cutting-edge US partners leading the development of critical off-Earth civil engineering processes required to return humans to the Moon, 'this time to stay'".

Click here to learn about various Moon Projects from Astroport.

Click here to learn about various space missions conducted by NASA.

Publisher: SatNow
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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013