Earth’s Moon as seen from the International Space Station taken by ESA British astronaut, Tim Peake.
Credit: NASA/ESA

 

The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued an announcement of opportunity centered on the advancement, maturation and demonstration of lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technologies.

ESA wants to demonstrate critical technologies in the end-to-end ISRU process chain for production of oxygen at the lunar surface.

In-Situ Resource Utilization
Credit: ESA–K. Oldenburg

Also they want harness expertise to characterize the ISRU feedstock at a location which is representative of those which will be visited by future human missions.

Objectives

The objectives of this activity are:

  • to identify a candidate ISRU payload, payload suppliers and partners interested in jointly enabling research and development
  • to identify commercial providers for lunar surface delivery and communications services
  • to study two mission concepts and their implementation feasibility.
  • select one successful mission concept in a final ESA review.

In a statement released today, ESA wants a return to the Moon to be sustainable and based on partnerships – not only with international space agencies but also with business. “A commercial approach may just be the ticket – literally and figuratively – to making it happen.”

Lunar base made with 3D printing
Credit: ESA/Foster + Partners

Roaming charges

“ESA wants to buy a ride on a commercial lander to deliver our precious research equipment safely to the surface. Once there, we are ready to pay the ‘roaming charges’ to talk to our hardware,” explains the statement.

“We are looking to invest in the development and pay for the use of technology that can turn indigenous lunar material into oxygen and water, critical resources for sustaining future human operations in deep space.”

Service providers

ESA is inviting service providers with the right ideas to take part in a one-year study that will shape this In-Situ Resource Utilization Demonstrator Mission.

For more information and details on how to submit proposals, go to:

http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Business_with_ESA/How_to_do/Open_Invitations_to_Tender

http://emits.sso.esa.int/emits/owa/emits_online.showao?typ1=7377&user=Anonymous

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