OXYGEN PRODUCTION FROM LUNAR REGOLITH: ORBITEC developed and is currently testing a system to extract oxygen from lunar regolith using the carbothermal reduction process. The automated Carbothermal Reduction Module is demonstrating the carbothermal reduction Oxygen Productionprocess as part of the NASA OPTIMA program. The Carbothermal Reduction Module includes an automated carbon reduction reactor, methanation reactor, regolith handling system, and gas handling system. The automated regolith handling system fills a regolith hopper, transfers regolith to the carbon reduction reactor, and removes the processed regolith.

The Carbothermal Reduction Module is sized to produce 1 metric ton of oxygen per year. It is designed to interface with other OPTIMA modules for end-to-end system demonstrations in future field tests. Current system testing was done with a CO2 laser to simulate concentrated solar energy, while subsequent testing is using concentrated solar energy.

See more information and photos at NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program website.