In-Situ Resource Utilization Modeling of a Lunar Water Processing System



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


A key element of achieving a sustained surface presence, such as defined in NASA's Artemis plan, is In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). ISRU is the practice of using local resources to provide mission consumables that reduce system launch mass requirements, and regenerate resources (chiefly, water and oxygen) for propulsion and life support supporting both Lunar and Martian missions. ISRU systems require multiple complex processes, such as excavation, chemical reactors, and electrolysis subsystems that must operate in harmony to optimize the overall system process from beginning to end. The Mission Analysis and Integration Tool (MAIT) was previously developed with MATLAB in FY22 to connect individual subsystem models into a customized, flexible framework for the purpose of technology downselect, optimization, and end-to-end process planning. Beginning in FY24, MAIT became the capital program in the Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) ISRU Modeling and Analysis (SIMA) project. MATLAB/Simulink was leveraged due to its ability to communicate with other programming languages. MAIT initially evaluated a suite of ISRU-related technologies, including the water processing Lunar Auger Dryer for ISRU (LADI) system with integrated upstream excavation and downstream electrolysis subsystems. With individual models consolidated, the MAIT tool generated over 5,000 cases during its first round of parametric sweeps on the water processing architecture at multiple production targets; the system analysis provided the optimal LADI geometry that minimized energy demands, estimated effects to cold trap size and radiator requirements, and calculated the power dynamics of the electrolysis unit and liquid oxygen storage volume. Additional efforts are being made to demonstrate the ability to scale ISRU technologies supporting the Space Technology Mission Directorate's (STMD) commercialization strategy and increase the MAIT software capability. Work is ongoing for a wide array of ISRU system models beyond the Lunar environment, e.g. production of propellant for a Martian lander.


Avery Carlson, Jacobs Technology, USA
Noah Andersen, Jacobs Technology, USA
Jacob Collins, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
ICES308: Advanced Technologies for In-Situ Resource Utilization
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


in-situ resource utilization, process modeling, subsystem modeling, model integration