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Astroport Space Technologies, awarded a NASA Technology Research contract for lunar construction

11 June 2021

Astroport Space Technologies concept

Astroport Space Technologies lunar landing pad construction concept image. Image courtesty of Astroport Space Technologies.

UniSA’s Venture Catalyst Space startup, Astroport Space Technologies, has been awarded a NASA Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer contract (STTR) for development of its lunar regolith melting technology for constructing landing pads on the Moon.

Astroport and its research institution partner, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will jointly develop technology for an "Induction Furnace-Nozzle for Forming and Placing Lunar Regolith Bricks for Landing Pad Construction".

Astroport was one of only four Texas companies selected for this year's STTR program and is a deep tech space start-up with headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. The company was founded in 2020 as a subsidiary of Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc), also based in San Antonio.

In 2021, Astroport was one of 10 startup companies chosen to participate in the third cohort of the country’s first space accelerator program, Venture Catalyst Space, delivered by the University of South Australia.

Founder and CEO, Sam Ximenes, a San Antonio native and Space Architect said,

"With NASA's return to the Moon with outposts and base camps, and commercial ventures for mining and even space tourism we see a market for space civil engineering construction developing within the next decade. With this initial small contract we hope to plant the seeds for a San Antonio industry to become known for expertise in space construction processes and manufacturing. We believe San Antonio's heavy construction industry should start positioning now for access to this future market."

Ximenes went on to say, "The development of a space economy will not be achieved solely by 'space experts' like aerospace engineers and scientists. There are a number of disciplines required from our community and from around the world that will need to come together. For example, Astroport was recently selected by a South Australian government sponsored space incubator program (ICC Venture Catalyst) to develop partnerships with Australian companies that bring expertise in mining excavation and mineral beneficiation processes. Similarly, here in San Antonio our robotics, cyber, and heavy construction industries all go into the mix of knowledge of design and processes needed to support space architecture and construction on planetary surfaces."

Astroport's Lunar Regolith Melting and Lunar Regolith Binding stabilization and solidification technologies are used for manufacturing feedstock for lunar construction. Astroport's technology addresses two challenges of space construction: (a) converting indigenous source material (regolith) into durable construction feedstock and (b) robotic emplacement and assembly of the same into surface structures such as landing pads, roads, and habitats. The project research will be conducted at Astroport's R&D laboratories at Tech Port San Antonio and laboratories at UTSA.

Story also covered in UTSA Today, SpaceRef and

About Astroport Space Technologies Inc.

Astroport was founded in 2020 by Sam Ximenes, a space architect with more than 30 years’ experience in the aerospace industry supporting major NASA, Department of Defense, and other commercial and international space programs. Astroport currently operates as a technology venture arm of Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc), a space architecture consulting design and engineering firm (established in 2007).

Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Astroport was founded with a vision to design, deploy, and operate interplanetary landing ports to facilitate safe, reliable, and efficient spaceflights to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

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