August 25, 2011 – The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. (NORCAT), has been awarded the NASA Group Achievement Award for outstanding efforts in support of the 2010 International Lunar Surface Operations InSitu resource Utilization Field Test (ILSO-ISRU). Specifically this distinction is awarded in recognition of the quality of results and level of impact on NASA programs, effective management of cost and schedule, customer satisfaction, capacity for future contribution and the development of innovative approaches in responding to unforeseen crises.
In addition to technical contributions such as the drill and sample acquisition system for the NASA RESOLVE lunar water prospector testing and fuel cell system design for the lunar water utilization experiment, NORCAT’s role during this ILSO-ISRU field exercise was as overall field mission lead and coordinator.
NORCAT and its subcontractors provided overall planning and coordination functions to the test participants including on site food preparation, transportation coordination, cargo and equipment transport and transfer, basic site camp shelter, Occupational Health and Safety training and management, maintenance systems and logistics personnel.
“It is interesting that NORCAT was a key contributor to the major mining aspects of this deployment”, says Dale Boucher, “NORCAT’s expertise in mining systems served us well when developing the technical contributions to the field test, such as the fuel cell system. This system was key to completing the world’s first ever demonstration of a complete ISRU cycle”. Boucher explains that, in this instance, the fuel cell was used to power an excavator system, which was used to excavate regolith as a feed to the NASA lunar oxygen plant. The fuel cell was then re-fuelled with hydrogen produced as a by-product from this plant.
Boucher also commented that the exposure to mining camps allowed the team to develop and deploy the base camp for the field test. “It is almost like we were setting up a remote drill camp” say Boucher. “The use of severe weather tents and equipment from the Polar Continental Shelf project and the access to food preparation experts with remote camp experience (Michael Cullen and James Thomson) were instrumental in ensuring high morale and a successful field test”
The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. (NORCAT) is a not-for-profit, non-share incorporated company based in Sudbury, Ontario Canada. NORCAT has been developing space mining equipment since 1999, with the primary focus on a drilling unit for subsurface exploration. http://www.norcat.org
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