San Antonio area company Astroport aims to build on the moon with second NASA contract

New research being done to find multi-step way to create building materials on moon

SAN ANTONIO – History was made on July 20, 1969 when Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. And since then, NASA has grown, technology has evolved exponentially, and space travel has become commercialized.

Now, Astroport, a San Antonio area company, has a second contract from NASA, with a goal of building on the moon.

Astroport is space construction and materials construction company, or materials development company. We are building infrastructure for the moon,” Sam Ximenez, a space architect, and Astroport CEO said.

Astroport is working to use moondust to build infrastructure on the moon.

“So the first one (question) was to learn how to melt the regolith. This is what we build with, the moon dust. Essentially, we melted, learn about the heat regimes and how, you know, do you get to the molten in the solid solidification of that material. And now, how do we actually construct the landing pad? This is the excavation,” Ximenez said.

Regolith is unconsolidated rock material. It is the moon material that is being used to build so that you don’t need to bring more materials to outer space.

“So how do we excavate that, that lunar dirt and turn it into the material that feeds the melter? And this is what we’ll be doing. And that what’s called bulk regolith manipulation. The bulk regolith excavation and seeding and filtering and putting that as a feed system into the melter. That’s a big difference. It’s the civil engineering aspect of it,” Ximenez said.

The new research will describe a multi-step way for multiple machines to autonomously or in remote control mode collect materials on the moon and melt them down and use them as building materials.

The idea seems almost like science fiction, but is in the works and it could come to fruition sooner than you might think.

“We actually have a technology milestone, by 2026, to put our first technology demonstration robot on the lunar surface to prove as a proof of concept, that we can actually make these bricks on the moon,” Ximenez said.

Ximenez said by 2030, the building could begin.

About the Author

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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