Extracting water resources from the surface of the Moon for propellant production

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An ambitious and exciting project on which SEEDS students are currently working on.


An international team of 39 students from Politecnico di Torino, the University of Leicester and ISAE-SUPAERO are working hard on the SEEDS (Space Exploration and Development Systems) project, a 6-month joint programme supported by ESA, ASI and Thales Alenia Space.

Following the initial phase of the project in Turin (Italy), the group moved to Toulouse on 20th May and are currently being hosted on the ISAE-SUPAERO campus. They will leave for the UK at the end of July for the final phase of the project in Leicester.

The theme of this programme, which is in its 10th year, is the preparation of a manned exploration missions either to Mars or the Moon. The 2018 edition focuses on defining a scenario to assess the feasibility and sustainability of ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilisation) on the Lunar surface for propellant production.

The design of a Lunar habitat, rovers, a fuel production plant (using water extracted from the lunar regolith), and a spaceport are just some of the challenges which the working groups are tackling.

Beyond developing technical and scientific skills, the project enables students to gain experience in project management and international, multi-lingual team-work.

Professors and PhD students from the three home institutions and further afield are assisting the SEEDS students, who also collaborate with space industry experts (Thales Alenia Space, Altec, ASI, Airbus Defence & Space, CNES). In mid-June, the whole team will travel to The Netherlands for an intensive concurrent engineering workshop at ESTEC’s Concurrent Design Facility (CDF).

More information on SEEDS program :

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