MoonFibre

RWTH Aachen University research project for the development and application of fibers based on lunar regolith. Funded by DLR, ESA, Airbus, among others.

iBOSS

A new integrated approach on spacecraft modularity and standardization is based on the iBOSS project funded by DLR‘s Space Administration.

IGLUNA 2020

The Swiss Space Center coordinates this international student project demonstrating key enabling technologies for life support in frozen worlds.

The Motivation

These are our reasons why we are making it!

Fibres

15 % of all materials are fibre-based

67.5 t fibres would be required for one lunar base comparable to ISS

70,000,000,000 €

Would be spent only for the transport of fibres for a lunar base comparable to ISS

Moonbase

On-site production of fibres

For fibre-reinforced composites, thermal insulation and filters

Astronaut on the Moon

Cloth for astronauts

Astronaut suits are made of fabrics, which could be manufactured on-site as required

The Technology

This is what we are going to make possible!

Spinning unit on the Moon

Spinning unit capable to withstand the Moon environmental conditions

AMPEX 2020 will develop and construct a miniaturized spinning unit, which is able to produce endless fibers from processable raw materials by the nozzle drawing process under microgravity as well as under space conditions. Due to space restrictions during space missions, the spinning plant is miniaturized for its assembly in the space element iBLOCK, which has an installation space of less than 30 × 30 × 30 cm3. The system in this work aims to perform the process with minimal human interaction. The complete automation of industrial fibreglass production plants has not yet been realized, and AMPEX 20 spinning unit will be the first to achieve automation in these systems. A control system will be integrated into the unit, including temperature sensors, cameras and logic processors.

Close up of the spinning unit

Miniaturized spinning machine for the production of fibers in microgravity

iBLOCK is the component of the iBOSS satellite. The aim of the iBOSS project is to create a modular satellite system that enables on-orbit servicing and assembly. AMPEX 20 aims to develop and construct a spinning unit capable of producing mineral continuous fibres, e.g. from lunar regolith simulants, using the nozzle drawing process. This will be miniaturised for the first trials of the technology on the iBLOCK, which has a space restriction of less than 30 × 30 × 30 cm3.

Nanos gigantum humeris insidentes

If we see further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants

The foundations of our project are based on major space engineering projects of international relevance. Thanks to the IGLUNA 2020 initiative, our team has the perfect means to make this mission a reality.

MoonFibre - Fibres from Lunar Regolith

Spinning unit on the MoonMoonFibre is a research project of two institutes from RWTH Aachen University, the Institute for Textile Technology and Institute of Structural Mechanics and Lightweight Design. The aim of the MoonFibre project is to create fibres from lunar regolith on the Moon itself. A small, modular automated and highly robust spinning facility is to be build and used to produce fibres and different fibre based material to be used on diverse application for the lunar settlement. This way exploration and exploitation of the Moon will become more financially viable and more sustainable.As the so called New Space age beginns, mankind’s interest is being shifted from LEO towards exploring Mars and our closest celestial neighbour – the Moon. However, the transport of payloads into space, e.g. to carry out research missions or to set up and supply manned lunar stations, poses immense economic challenges in addition to the technological tasks to be solved. Moon raw materials in the form of regoliths are suitable for the production of habitat building materials and thus the reduction of freight and costs during missions into space. MoonFibre are very versatile and could support the implementation of a lunar habitat in various ways: They can be used for structural support of 3D-printed structures, thermal and acoustic insulation or as a substrate for hydroponic agriculture.


iBOSS – a modular approach towards enhanced future space systems and flexibility

iBOSS in SpaceiBOSS (Intelligent Building Blocks for On-orbit Satellite Servicing) is a project funded by the DLR. In the context of the iBOSS project standardized building blocks are developed, that altogether form a maintainable modular spacecraft. The iBOSS design provides a great flexibility in satellite development and productions while enabling on-orbit servicing and assembly. As one of the key partners of the iBOSS project, the SLA is currently developing the iSSI (intelligent Space System Interface) while also qualifying developed structures in accordance with current space standards and refining structural components and mechanisms. In the context of IGLUNA 2020, we will use the iBOSS technology for exploration of celestial bodies. One of the main goals of our project is to miniaturize the MoonFibre spinning plant, so it can fit into an iBLOCK. Using the iSSI, our spinning plant could be easily transported to production sites by autonomous rovers and coupled to power supply infrastructure.

Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University

Logo ITAAt the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA), research assistants work in the field of materials, production processes and products for technical applications of textile structures. The ITA has a fully equipped and modern research centre with around 250 textile machines and test benches for all stages of textile processing. In addition, various laboratories (textile testing, polymer analysis) and workshops (mechanics, electronics, software and hardware) are staffed with technicians.

Institute of Structural Mechanics and Lightweight Design

Logo SLAOver the past 60 years, the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Lightweight Design (SLA) has built up extensive expertise in the design, dimensioning and qualification of aerospace structures. With more than 50 employees, its own production facilities and a well-equipped structural testing laboratory, the SLA is able to carry out the so-called "Triad of Lightweight Construction": Test, Numerics and Analytics.


IGLUNA - a habitat in ice

Logo IGLUNAStudent teams from countries around Europe are collaborating in this project called IGLUNA – A Human Habitat in Ice: Demonstrating key enabling technologies for life support in frozen worlds. IGLUNA 2020 is coordinated and organized by the Swiss Space Center and builds upon the IGLUNA 2019 project under the ESA_Lab initiative. The purpose of this mission is to investigate an approach for realizing a human habitat on the moon, directly in the ice craters near the poles. The ice provides a natural source for water, oxygen and fuel. Building the habitat underneath the surface of the moon will protect the humans and the habitat from radiation and micrometeorites. The student team technologies will be tested in a similar extreme environment given in a test bed in Switzerland in July 2020.

Our Team

A group of ambitious individuals determined to take humanity one step further

Juan Carlos Arañó Romero

Juan Carlos Arañó Romero

Team Leader

Janina Szczesnowicz Pedregal

Janina Szczesnowicz Pedregal

PR & Marketing

Simon Rolfes

Simon Rolfes

Safety & Risk Engr.

Reis Baltaoglu

Reis Baltaoglu

Automation System

Tobias Schalm

Tobias Schalm

Thermal System

Molly Yeoh

Jiun Wen Yeoh

Thermal System

Philipp Hofmann

Philipp Hofmann

Winding System

Serhan Kantay

Serhan Kantay

Induction System

Luca Schäfer

Luca Schäfer

Winding System

Mahmoud Assaf

Mahmoud Assaf

Mechanical Engineer


Advisory Board

Our advisors provide our with critical support in their areas of expertise.

Tobias Meinert

Tobias Meinert

SLA Councillor

Alexander Lüking

Alexander Lüking

ITA Councillor

Alexander Niecke

Dr. Alexander Niecke

ITA Project Manager

Stephan Kalapis

Stephan Kalapis

SLA Project Manager