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Dr. Paul van SusanteDirector & Founder

Dr. van Susante grew up in The Netherlands. He graduated with a MSc in Civil Engineering from Delft University of Technology in 2001 with a thesis topic of building large telescopes in the permanently shaded lunar polar craters. He did his internship at the European Space Agency in Noordwijk (ESTEC), The Netherlands, and led his award winning senior design team with a lunar base design for lunar He 3 surface mining. In 2002 he started at the Colorado School of Mines at the invitation of Mike Duke to continue lunar telescope work and received a MSc in Engineering Systems in 2004. Since 2003 he has been involved with in-situ Resource Utilization studies and hardware development and testing, he led the development of a first prototype of a lunar bucket ladder, backhoe and performed regolith simulant property testing for RESOLVE. He was faculty advisor for 5 student teMemberType.MS participating in the centennial excavation challenge and lunabotics mining competition from 2008-2012 and now a 6 th team at MTU. In 2010 he was a National Space Grant Faculty Fellow at NASA Kennedy Space Center working on lunar landing pad construction methods and testing. His PhD from CSM in 2011 included modeling of lunar regolith excavation forces. He has worked on numerous SBIR/STTR/NIAC and other grants with numerous aerospace companies and NASA centers on ISRU related research, Lunar and Martian economics and architecture studies. After 7 years as a senior lecturer, he is now an assistant professor at MTU and perfoMemberType.MS research in the areas of In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) for space exploration and surface operations on the Moon, Mars and Asteroids. His Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab includes simulation, prototype development and test facilities. His research group and Mining Innovation Enterprise perform research in collaboration with several companies for several funded multi-year NASA grants such as extracting water from gypsum rock and buried glaciers on Mars and water extraction from ice in permanently shadowed craters on the Moon. Other aspects of the research include study and prototyping and testing robotic Systems for excavation and construction for infrastructure placement such as trenching, roads, landing pads, bulk material movement and beneficiation of source material.

Projects

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NASA LuSTR 2020NASA Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR) (Exploration of lunar volatiles and determination of geotechnical properties) – "Percussive Hot Cone Penetrometer (PHCP) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for Geotechnical and Volatiles Mapping"
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NASA T-REXNASA Breakthrough Innovative and Gamechanging (BIG) Idea Challenge 2020 – "Tethered permanently shaded Region EXplorer (T-REX)", (power and communication delivery into PSR)
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NASA Watts on the MoonNASA Watts on the Moon Centennial Challenge (Providing power to water extraction plant in PSR 3km from power plant) – "Wired Watts where-ever, whenever you want – W^5"
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NASA Break the IceThe latest centennial challenge from NASA that is designed to develop technologies aiding in the sustained presence on the Moon.
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NASA ESIEarly Stage Innovation (water from rock gypsum on Mars) – "Low mass, low power, non-mechanical excavation of gypsum and other evaporites for water production on Mars"
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NASA RedWaterNASA NextSTEP BAA ISRU track 3 (water from buried glaciers on Mars) – "RedWater : Extraction of Water from Mars' Ice Deposits" (subcontract from Honeybee Robotics who are principal investigator)
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NASA GCD MREProvide a regolith feeder and transportation system for the MRE reactor
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HOPLITEA modular robotic system that enables the field testing of ISRU technologies.
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NASA CLASSNASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) – "CLASS (Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science)" (subcontract from University of Central Florida who are principal investigator)

Facilities

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Dusty Thermal Vacuum Chamber (DTVAC)Perform rapid testing of lunar surface systems and science instruments. This facility consists of a thermal vacuum chamber, removable regolith beds, and supporting equipment.
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Lunar Simulant SandboxLarge 'Airlocked' lunar simulant chamber with autonomous gravity offloading.
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IRGOA 3-axis autonomous gravity offloading device located within a lunar simulant chamber.
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Mini Thermal Vacuum Chamber (MTVAC)A Martian pressure rated vacuum chamber featuring a LN2 feedthrough port to allow tests to be conducted at cryogenic temperatures.
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Regolith Freezing & Heating ContainersShipping containers refurbished as regolith heating and freezing facilities.
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AR Mapping SandboxA sandbox featuring projected depth mapping of the terrain.
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Industrial Robotic ArmA programmable FANUC robotic arm.