Tucson-based Paragon Space Development Corp. and a partner have won a NASA contract to develop systems to generate water, hydrogen and oxygen from naturally occurring sources on the moon and perhaps other planets.
Paragon and partner Giner Inc., a Massachusetts-based developer of electrochemical systems, will develop the hydrogen-oxygen production system under NASA’s “in-situ resource utilization” program.
The effort is aimed at increasing the safety and affordability of future human spaceflight missions by limiting the need to launch supplies, such as oxygen, water and fuel, from Earth, allowing extended stays on the lunar surface, the companies said.
“Paragon is committed to supporting NASA in its goal to build a sustainable presence on the moon in a few short years,” Grant Anderson, Paragon’s president and CEO, said in announcing the contract.
Anderson said the company’s technology builds upon prior NASA research contract work as well as internal company research and development, adding the team is developing a turnkey system for hydrogen and oxygen production and storage.
The contract amount and length were not immediately available.
In late May, NASA announced it had selected 10 companies, including Paragon, to conduct studies and advance technologies to collect, process and use space-based resources for missions to the moon and Mars. The work is part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 program.
NASA said the total value of the contracts, which could include options through 2021, would be about $10 million and that individual contracts would be negotiated with the selected companies.
A longtime NASA contractor for life-support and environmental space systems, Paragon is involved in several NASA programs to help enable long-term space habitation, including development of systems to purify urine into drinking water.