Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics has been selected for a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop a radiator-free engine (RFE) that could be used in nuclear electric and solar thermal electric propulsion systems.
“In the RFE, cold water propellant or hydrogen used as the heat rejection dump for a dynamic cycle heated by a nuclear reactor, enabling Carnot efficiencies as high as 0.79 for water or 0.99 for hydrogen,” the proposal’s technical abstract said. “Some of the propellant that is boiled or sublimated off is then sent to an electric propulsion system, which ejects it from the spacecraft at high velocities to produce thrust….
DENVER, July 13, 2020 (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), the world’s first space-focused holding company, today announced the acquisition of Pioneer Astronautics in a cash and stock transaction. Pioneer Astronautics is a hands-on research and development company dedicated to inventing and proving new technologies to advance humanity’s reach into space and improve life on Earth. Today’s news marks the second acquisition for Voyager since its inception, furthering the company’s mission of creating the world’s first vertically integrated and publicly traded NewSpace company.
NASA has selected Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics for funding to develop a new battery and gas spectrometer specially designed for use on the moon. The awards under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I program are worth up to $125,000 apiece over six months.
“The Lunar Flow Battery (LFB) is a scalable, long-duration energy storage solution featuring minimum capacity fade over many cycles that uses electrolytes derived from lunar regolith to minimize launch mass,” the Colorado-based company said in its proposal summary.
Although NASA has the moon clearly in its sight, the space agency continues to fund technologies that will use in-situ resources to facilitate human missions to Mars.
NASA has selected OxEon Energy and Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics for Small Business Innovation Research Phase II (SBIR) awards for technology that would extract carbon dioxide from the martian atmosphere to produce oxygen and fuel. The contracts are worth up to $750,000 over two years.
NASA has selected Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards to continue developing technologies to further human missions to deep space and Mars. Each award is worth up to $750,000 over two years.
“The Advanced Organic Waste Gasifier (AOWG) is a technology designed to convert organic wastes generated during human spaceflight into clean water for mission consumables and gases suitable for venting to minimize vehicle mass for Mars transit and return missions,” the company said in a proposal summary.
SpaceNews reports that NASA’s plan to put a lunar gateway in orbit around the moon and get astronauts down to the surface in 2028 took quite a pounding from some members of the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group during the body’s first meeting last week.
“Personally, I think 2028 for humans on the moon, that’s 10 years from now. It just seems like it’s so far off,” said former astronaut Eileen Collins. “We can do it sooner.” (more…)
Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics has been selected for a NASA small business award to begin development of a system to extract soil from martian soil.
“The Advanced Mars Water Acquisition System (AMWAS) recovers and purifies water from Mars soils for oxygen and fuel production, life support, food production, and radiation shielding in support of human exploration missions,” the proposal states. “The AMWAS removes water from Mars soils using hot, recirculating carbon dioxide gas to provide rapid heat transfer. The AMWAS evaporates water from ice and salt hydrates, leaving dissolved contaminants in the soil residue.”
MOJAVE, Calif. (FAR/Mars Society PR) – Student-built rockets will streak into the stratosphere in Spring, 2018 as college and university engineering teams from around the world compete for $100,000 in prizes in a contest sponsored jointly by the Mars Society, headquartered in Denver, CO and the California-based Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR), officers announced today.
The FAR-MARS Prize will grant $50,000 to the team whose bi-propellant liquid-fueled rocket comes closest to reaching 45,000 feet (13,716 meters). A second $50,000 prize will go to the team that comes closest to hitting that same altitude with a rocket-powered by liquid-methane and liquid-oxygen, announced Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, and Mark Holthaus, director and treasurer of FAR. “If one team can achieve both goals with the same rocket, they’ll win both prizes totaling $100,000,” Holthaus said.
Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics has been selected for two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards to continue development of a system to extract volatile elements from asteroids and a new rocket engine.
Pioneer’s Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system “produces water and hydrogen-rich syngas for propellant production, life support consumables, and manufacturing from in-situ resources in support of advanced space exploration,” according to the project’s technical abstract.
NASA has selected Bob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics for two small business awards to fund the development of a system to extract water and other volatiles from asteroids and a new rocket engine for spacecraft.
“The Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system extracts water and volatile organic compounds for propellant production, life support consumables, and manufacturing from in-situ resources in support of advanced space exploration,” according to the proposal. “The CAVoR thermally extracts ice and water bound to clays minerals, which is then combined with small amounts of oxygen to gasify organic matter contained in carbonaceous chondrite asteroids.
There seems to be a trend of prominent space experts challenging each other to debates.
First, New Horizons Supremo Alan Stern challenged Neil deGrasse Tyson to debate whether Pluto should be restored to planetary status. Stern, whose mission will explore Pluto next year, believes it should be elevated from dwarf planet status. Tyson, the driving force behind Pluto’s demotion, refused to debate the subject.
Now, it’s Robert Zubrin’s turn. The Mars Society president has challenged Ad Astra Rocket Company Founder Franklin Chang-Diaz to a debate over how to best explore Mars. Near as I can tell from the press release, it would give Zubrin a chance to demonstrate that Ad Astra’s plasma-based VASIMR engine, which Chang Diaz is promoting for rapid trips to Mars, is pretty much a fraud.
NASA recently announced that it would be conducting contract negotiations for 350 projects under its SBIR and STTR programs, which are aimed at promoting space technology development and transfer by small businesses. Parabolic Arc will be looking at a number of the proposals involving NewSpace companies that it regularly covers or which encompass interesting technologies.
This post looks at Pioneer Pioneer Astronautics, a Colorado-based company run by Mars Society Founder Robert Zubrin. NASA selected three of the company’s SBIR proposals, including ones related to nitrous oxide micro-engines, Martian water extraction, and lunar oxygen production. Descriptions follow after the break.