Mining in Space

Since 1999, we have been developing capabilities related to the prospecting for, and extraction of, resources from the Moon, Mars and asteroids. Our approach to the development of this technology has been to leverage our terrestrial mining perspective and knowledge base. Space mining technologies that we have successfully designed, built and tested include various size drills, crushers, sample handling systems, plows, load/haul/dump systems, mobility platforms, rovers and robotic handling systems.

Using Space Technologies to Solve Down-to-Earth Problems

Throughout our decades of work in the mining sector and space sector, we have always believed that the best approach to identifying and ultimately utilizing resources on the Moon, Mars or asteroids is to adapt methods and hardware already used successfully in the mining sector.

The work we do in applying mining technologies to the space sector provides us with access to cutting-edge technologies and unique materials. One of our foundations is to always look for applications of such technology in the mining and resource sector.

We can apply this same approach to your challenges.
Bring us your problem; we’ll help you find an application that solves it.

OB-1 Lunar Highlands Regolith Simulant

OB-1 is a lunar highlands regolith simulant with mechanical properties that replicate samples returned from the Apollo 16 landing site. It consists of a mixture of 58% Shawmere Anorthosite and 42% slag glass. These materials are crushed to achieve a particle size distribution similar to the Apollo 16 samples 64501 and 64500.

OB-1 is recommended for excavation/flow, drilling, abrasion/wear uses as per NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Lunar Regolith Simulant User’s Guide (NASA/TM-2010-216446)

Property Value
Mean Particle Size 82.25 μm
Median Particle Size 35.97 μm
Specific Gravity 3.071
Bulk Density 1.815 g/cm3

Due to manufacturing limitations, we must produce OB-1 in minimum production runs of 12 tonnes. Reservations for orders are required due to the demand on each production. Minimum order quantity is 25kg @ $375 (+HST) CDN. Be sure to reserve today to be included on the next batch.

    Project Portfolio

    RESOLVE

    • Three year NASA project
    • 1m drill, sample transfer system, crusher
    • Low power, no fluids, autonomous
    • Integrated to Carnegie Mellon University rover
    • SCARAB and Juno rover
    • Deployed at analogue sites in Pittsburgh and on slopes of Mauna Kea (2x)

    DESTIN

    • 1 m lunar drill, contiguous sample
    • A suite of tools for augering, sample collection in consolidated and unconsolidated material
    • Sample transfer receptacle for parsing sample
    • Optional substrate differentiation package
    • No consumables, autonomous, tele-operable
    • Deployments: NASA RESOLVE Analogue Mission 2012

    Mass: 42kg
    Volume: 2.1m x 0.05m x 0.6m
    Power: <150Watt DC nominal
    Operations: 15-degree slope
    Temperature: -20C to +40C (operations); -40C to +50C (storage)

    MiniCorer Drill

    • Autonomous, tele-operable
    • No consumables
    • Sample size 10mm x10cm
    • Robotic arm mountable
    • Percussion, rotation or both
    • Tools for rock abrasion, consolidated and unconsolidated sample capture
    • Docks with sample handler unit for tool exchange, sample encapsulation
    • Integrated with a 1m manipulator arm and rover as part of the Exploration Surface Mobility project.

    Mass: drill, 6.2kg/ sample handler 6.54kg
    Power: <10Watts average
    Drilling orientation: all
    Sample Handler Unit Operation: 15-degree slope
    Temperature: -20C to +40C (operations); -40C to +50C (storage)

    DESTIN TRL6

    • 1 m lunar drill
    • Advancement of DESTIN drill head to TRL6
    • Auger with bit temperature sensor, consolidated and unconsolidated material capture
    • Successfully drilled and captured sample in NASA Glenn dirty thermal vacuum chamber (LN2, 10-6 Torr).
    • Drilling medium: 2% and 5% frozen moisture CHENOBI (TM) simulant.

    Mass: <20kg
    Power: <60Watt average
    Temperature: operations at 100K
    Volatile retention: in core samples

    PROMPT (Percussive and ROtary Multi-Purpose Tool)

    • Small (<5kg) multi-function tool for use on Mars and the moon
    • Sutonomous
    • Suite of tools for:
      • Drilling and sampling rock or unconsolidated material (sample 5cm x 1cm)
      • Chiselling
      • Scooping
      • Abrading
      • Drilling and tapping metal
      • Fastening or loosening bolts
    • CSA funded

    Mass: <5kg
    Volume: <6000cm3
    Power: 30-70W avg depending on the operation
    Operations: any orientation
    Temperature: -10C to +40C (operations); -20C to +51C (storage)
    TRL: 4+

    Automated End Effector Exchanger

    • Robotic tool exchanger for unconstrained locations to accommodate multiple end effectors (tools) on a manipulator arm

    • Coarse and fine self-alignment features (misalignment tolerance of radial, angular, and axial offsets)

    • Locks to tool grapple fixture to provide mechanical rigidity in all three axes

    • Automatic coupling of power and data connections

    • Dust tolerant

    • CSA funded

    Fuel Cell

    • CSA funded

    • Air-breathing fuel cell

    • Integrated system controller, energy management system, hydrogen detection system, hydride tanks and fuel cell power module

    • Powered excavation system which delivered regolith to NASA Oxygen production plant

    • Hydrogen by-product of Oxygen production plant used to re-charge fuel cell

    Mobility Enabled In Situ Resource Utilization

    • CSA funded project developed:

    • Set of 6 battery-powered, radio remote controlled, mobility chassis capable of carrying interchangeable payloads

    • 3 plows, load/haul/dump payload, GPR mechanical and operator interface

    • Tandem chassis

    • Utilized in analogue deployment on slopes of Mauna Kea in 2010 to mobilize:

      • NASA RESOLVE payload (including Deltion’s DESTIN drill)

      • Fuel cell as a range extender

      • NASA Mossbauer instrument

    2010 Mission Simulation

    • 21-day mission simulation involving >100 scientists, private organization, universities, space agencies from 3 countries
    • Integration of various projects: Deltion mobility chassis, load/haul/dump, plows, fuel cell, NASA RESOLVE, Oxygen Production, Mossbauer, augmented reality, remote medical operations
    • Mission management role:
      • Schedule​
      • Infrastructure (shelter, power, comms, etc)
      • Logistics
      • ProceduresAdministration