1984 Phase II

Lunar Oxygen Production from Ilmenite/Fluid Particle Processing

Carbotek Development Laboratories

Houston, TX

Developed conceptual design for lunar oxygen production system based on fluidized-bed hydrogen reduction of lunar ilenite.
Laboratory reduction of lunar stimulants and fabrication of models for study of fluidized bed dynamics at g-1 and 1/6-g.
Hydrogen reduction of Lunar Ilmenite
Hydrogen reduction of Lunar Ilmenite
Optional Powerpoint file
    • Determined reaction kinetics for numerous lunar stimulants an development correlations for actual lunar samples
    • Measured bubble sizes in "two-dimensional" fluidized beds at 1-g and at 1/6-g on NASA’s KC-135 variable gravity aircraft. Verified two-phase (gas- solid) flow theory at lunar gravity for fluidized-bed reactors
    • Demonstrated smooth, downward transfer of solids through standpipe transfer mechanisms for multi-staged fluidized-bed reactors
    • Private funding of research since 1991 advanced state-of-the-art considerably with reduction of actual lunar samples and design of additional KC-135 experiment packages.
    • Other applications of lunar oxygen such as a thrust enhancer for a nuclear rocket engine, are opening new markets and funding sources
    • Phase two SBIR contract enabled Carbotek to add scientifically skilled employees and expand research capabilities.
    • Private funding from Shimizu Crop. In 1991 to continue research.
    • JSC funded KC 135 lunar gravity flights and Lunar oxygen pilot plant based on this technology.

    • NASA identified lunar oxygen production as enabling technology for solar system exploration - hydrogen reduction is baseline process.
    • Lunar oxygen production enables substantial mass reduction for transportation systems and near self-sufficient lunar base operations
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