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Title: Commercial lunar propellant architecture: A collaborative study of lunar propellant production

Abstract

Aside from Earth, the inner solar system is like a vast desert where water and other volatiles are scarce. An old saying is, 'In the desert, gold is useless and water is priceless.' While water is common on Earth, it is of very high value in space. Science missions to the Moon have provided direct evidence that regions near the lunar poles, which are permanently in shadow, contain substantial concentrations of water ice. On the lunar surface, water itself is critical for human consumption and radiation shielding, but water can also be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. The oxygen thus produced can be used for life support, and hydrogen and oxygen can be combusted for rocket propulsion. Due to the Moon's shallow gravity well, its water-derived products can be exported to fuel entirely new economic opportunities in space. This paper is the result of an examination by industry, government, and academic experts of the approach, challenges, and payoffs of a private business that harvests and processes lunar ice as the foundation of a lunar, cislunar (between the Earth and the Moon), and Earth-orbiting economy. A key assumption of this analysis is that all work - construction, operation, transport,more » maintenance and repair - is done by robotic systems. No human presence is required.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [2];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [10];  [13];  [1];  [14];  [15];  [3] more »;  [16];  [1];  [17];  [18];  [7];  [2];  [19];  [20];  [3];  [21] « less
  1. United Launch Alliance, Centennial, CO (United States)
  2. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
  3. Honeybee Robotics, New York, NY (United States)
  4. Xtraordinary Innovative Space Partnership, Cabin John, MD (United States)
  5. Cislunar Space Development Company LLC, Annandale, VA (United States)
  6. NewSpace Analytics, Canterbury, NH (United States)
  7. Atomos Nuclear and Space, Denver, CO (United States)
  8. Lunar Outpost, Littleton, CO (United States)
  9. Lunar Station Corporation, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  10. Paragon Space Development Corporation, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  11. Altius Space Machines, Broomfield, CO (United States)
  12. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States)
  13. OffWorld Inc., Pasadena, CA (United States)
  14. Univ. of Central Florida, Orlando, FL (United States)
  15. The Catholic Univ. of America, Washington, DC (United States)
  16. Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States)
  17. Robots in Space LLC, Arlington, VA (United States)
  18. NASA, Washington, DC (United States)
  19. Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX (United States)
  20. Cleveland State Univ., OH (United States)
  21. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1503160
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5500-73533
Journal ID: ISSN 2352-3093
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
REACH - Reviews in Human Space Exploration
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2352-3093
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; space exploration; lunar propellant; lunar ice

Citation Formats

Kornuta, David, Abbud-Madrid, Angel, Atkinson, Jared, Barr, Jonathan, Barnhard, Gary, Bienhoff, Dallas, Blair, Brad, Clark, Vanessa, Cyrus, Justin, DeWitt, Blair, Dreyer, Chris, Finger, Barry, Goff, Jonathan, Ho, Koki, Kelsey, Laura, Keravala, Jim, Kutter, Bernard, Metzger, Philip, Montgomery, Laura, Morrison, Phillip, Neal, Clive, Otto, Erica, Roesler, Gordon, Schier, Jim, Seifert, Brandon, Sowers, George, Spudis, Paul, Sundahl, Mark, Zacny, Kris, and Zhu, Guangdong. Commercial lunar propellant architecture: A collaborative study of lunar propellant production. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026.
Kornuta, David, Abbud-Madrid, Angel, Atkinson, Jared, Barr, Jonathan, Barnhard, Gary, Bienhoff, Dallas, Blair, Brad, Clark, Vanessa, Cyrus, Justin, DeWitt, Blair, Dreyer, Chris, Finger, Barry, Goff, Jonathan, Ho, Koki, Kelsey, Laura, Keravala, Jim, Kutter, Bernard, Metzger, Philip, Montgomery, Laura, Morrison, Phillip, Neal, Clive, Otto, Erica, Roesler, Gordon, Schier, Jim, Seifert, Brandon, Sowers, George, Spudis, Paul, Sundahl, Mark, Zacny, Kris, & Zhu, Guangdong. Commercial lunar propellant architecture: A collaborative study of lunar propellant production. United States. doi:10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026.
Kornuta, David, Abbud-Madrid, Angel, Atkinson, Jared, Barr, Jonathan, Barnhard, Gary, Bienhoff, Dallas, Blair, Brad, Clark, Vanessa, Cyrus, Justin, DeWitt, Blair, Dreyer, Chris, Finger, Barry, Goff, Jonathan, Ho, Koki, Kelsey, Laura, Keravala, Jim, Kutter, Bernard, Metzger, Philip, Montgomery, Laura, Morrison, Phillip, Neal, Clive, Otto, Erica, Roesler, Gordon, Schier, Jim, Seifert, Brandon, Sowers, George, Spudis, Paul, Sundahl, Mark, Zacny, Kris, and Zhu, Guangdong. Wed . "Commercial lunar propellant architecture: A collaborative study of lunar propellant production". United States. doi:10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1503160.
@article{osti_1503160,
title = {Commercial lunar propellant architecture: A collaborative study of lunar propellant production},
author = {Kornuta, David and Abbud-Madrid, Angel and Atkinson, Jared and Barr, Jonathan and Barnhard, Gary and Bienhoff, Dallas and Blair, Brad and Clark, Vanessa and Cyrus, Justin and DeWitt, Blair and Dreyer, Chris and Finger, Barry and Goff, Jonathan and Ho, Koki and Kelsey, Laura and Keravala, Jim and Kutter, Bernard and Metzger, Philip and Montgomery, Laura and Morrison, Phillip and Neal, Clive and Otto, Erica and Roesler, Gordon and Schier, Jim and Seifert, Brandon and Sowers, George and Spudis, Paul and Sundahl, Mark and Zacny, Kris and Zhu, Guangdong},
abstractNote = {Aside from Earth, the inner solar system is like a vast desert where water and other volatiles are scarce. An old saying is, 'In the desert, gold is useless and water is priceless.' While water is common on Earth, it is of very high value in space. Science missions to the Moon have provided direct evidence that regions near the lunar poles, which are permanently in shadow, contain substantial concentrations of water ice. On the lunar surface, water itself is critical for human consumption and radiation shielding, but water can also be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. The oxygen thus produced can be used for life support, and hydrogen and oxygen can be combusted for rocket propulsion. Due to the Moon's shallow gravity well, its water-derived products can be exported to fuel entirely new economic opportunities in space. This paper is the result of an examination by industry, government, and academic experts of the approach, challenges, and payoffs of a private business that harvests and processes lunar ice as the foundation of a lunar, cislunar (between the Earth and the Moon), and Earth-orbiting economy. A key assumption of this analysis is that all work - construction, operation, transport, maintenance and repair - is done by robotic systems. No human presence is required.},
doi = {10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026},
journal = {REACH - Reviews in Human Space Exploration},
number = C,
volume = 13,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

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