Unveiling such plans on Tuesday (9th August), the space tech duo explained that, if a presence beyond Earth were to be achieved, reusable methane-fuelled rocket systems need liquid oxygen at a ratio of 1:4.
That being said, the pair believe the only cost-effective solution to refuelling in orbit is to create and storage oxygen on the Moon and Mars. Of course, this is no easy mission and, to achieve the unknown, Helios and Eta Space have combined their proprietary technologies.
Backed by the Israel Space Agency (ISA), Helios has already developed an electrochemical reactor capable of extracting oxygen from the lunar regolith, which is made of approximately 45% oxygen.
Supporting this unique technology, Florida-based Eta Space specialises in the production, storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants, with its founder and CEO, Dr. William Notardonato, having has a 30-year career at NASA.
On the new challenge, Dr. Notardonato said, “Eta Space would play the important role of liquifying and storing the oxygen produced by the Helios reactor in cryogenic tanks.”
“The two companies complement each other with their mission to reduce costs in space even further, a key step to make beyond earth presence sustainable.”
Jonathan Geifman, Helios CEO and co-founder, added, “In order to enable the establishment of a permanent lunar base, Helios’ technology is not enough – a whole set of technologies are required to realise the lunar economic value chain.”
“This new collaboration with Eta Space will for the first time connect two purely commercial links in the chain – the production and the storage of oxygen – thus making multiple and long-term missions to the moon closer to being economically viable.”