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Center Independent Research & Development: KSC IRAD

Mars 2024/2026 Pathfinder Mission: Mars Architectures, Systems, & Technologies for Exploration and Resources

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Integrate In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) sub-systems and examine advanced capabilities and technologies to verify Mars 2024 Forward architecture precursor pathfinder options:

Integrated spacecraft/surface infrastructure fluid architecture:  propulsion, power, life support

• Power system feed and propellant scavenging from propulsion system

• High quality oxygen for life support and EVA

Fluid/cryogenic zero-loss transfer and long-term storage

• Rapid depot-to-rover/spacecraft

• Slow ISRU plant-to-ascent vehicle

Integration of ISRU consumable production

• Oxygen only from Mars atmosphere carbon dioxide

• Oxygen, fuel, water, from extraterrestrial soil/regolith

Test bed to evaluate long duration life, operations, maintenance on hardware, sensors, and autonomy

Focus on integration of hardware and concepts developed under and funded from other projects

–Funding for hardware  and services to enable integration and testing

Finish development of shelved hardware to meet integrated test needs (includes KSC umbilical and regolith feed system)

Increase scope and fidelity of integrated architectures in a stepwise/phased approach

Initially focus on existing/near-ready hardware for early integration and lessons-learned

–Allow upgrades as hardware and funding become available.

Examine critical architecture modes of integration and operation:

–Mode 1: Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) from LO2/CH4 Tanks

–Mode 2: Liquefy & Store ISRU Produced Propellants before Transfer

–Mode 3: Zero-Loss Cryogenic LO2/CH4 Fluid Storage and Transfer

–Mode 4:  Integrate all Modes of operation for long-term ground test

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Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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