Astroport Space Technologies, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas USA, and FourPoint, headquartered in Wrocław, Poland, announce they are joint signatories of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaboration on the construction of a lunar launch and landing pad (LLP).
To enable safe landings at lunar camps, the collaboration effort will initially focus on developing the construction technologies and civil engineering processes needed for establishing an LLP for NASA’s Artemis return to the Moon programme. More specifically, Astroport is developing patent pending technology for melting the lunar soil (regolith) to form durable Moon bricks using its LunatronTM brickmaking machine. The bricks can then be used as pavement for planar surfaces such as landing pads, roads, or foundations for structures. Astroport has received separate research funding for developing its furnace melting technology, as well as for the LLP site preparation process.
Regolith feedstock for brickmaking is acquired from the excavation and leveling phase for the landing site preparation. For this, FourPoint will use its Autonomous Transport Platform (ATP) for hauling and conveyance of sorted and filtered material to feed the LunatronTM brickmaker. FourPoint’s ATP offers a complete solution for autonomous machine operation, adapted to work in specific areas which improves the speed and efficiency of work in opencast mines, as well as other extreme environments such as on the lunar surface. FourPoint will join Astroport’s international partner network of companies and academic research organisations developing the LLP construction concept of operations and associated technologies.
Astroport and FourPoint are graduates of the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) Start-up Support Programme (SSP). They were competitively selected to join the first ESRIC SSP cohort of only five companies chosen from over 33 applicantions received from 17 countries around the world. FourPoint was selected to be the 1st incubated Start-up of the SSP and go forward to Phase 2 of the programme. The two companies intend to establish subsidiary operations in Luxembourg.
Sam Ximenes, Space Architect and CEO of Astroport said, “As the only US company selected to participate in this European programme, we are extremely pleased with our involvement. Through the SSP we were introduced to FourPoint and their synergistic capability. We look forward to growing our joint skillsets and technologies for building out lunar infrastructure together”.