AUGUST 10, 2022 — For UTSA researchers Sazzad Bin-Shafique and Ibukun Awolusi, the Moon is the limit. The professors, faculty in the UTSA School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management, are supporting the development of lunar landing and launch pads as part of their work with Astroport Space Technology.
A division of space startup company Exploration Architecture, Astroport was recently awarded its second NASA Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract for construction work on the Moon.
Astroport, which is located at Port San Antonio, will work to develop geotechnical engineering processes as part of its joint efforts with UTSA.
These renderings depict a lunar launching pad during the early phases of a colony on the Moon. Renderings produced by Tangram 3DS
“Leveraging innovative technologies and systems such as those proposed in this study offers remarkable opportunities for the use of lunar materials, construction processes and our efforts toward achieving space sustainability,” Awolusi said.
The two entities previously collaborated on developing machinery and materials to build a reusable launching pad on the Moon. Last year, a team of UTSA researchers worked on designing an induction furnace nozzle for forming and placing lunar regolith bricks for landing pad construction. They identified the temperatures at which moon soil liquifies. This material will be used to build launch pad bricks on the Moon.
Bin-Shafique and Awolusi’s work will build on the previous research by developing transportation technologies for the bricklaying system of the lunar infrastructure construction.
“This research is a natural progression of the university’s regolith liquefaction investigations, in that the Phase 1 study will develop discreet-event modeling of the bulk regolith conveyance methods to help determine feed rates for Astroport’s Lunatron bricklayer system,” Bin-Shafique said.
UTSA graduate students will contribute to the lunar construction research that will define conveyance techniques and the sorting and filtering process to prepare and deliver excavated regolith to Astroport’s Lunatron bricklayer system.
“This project has the potential to promote UTSA’s research excellence in the sense that it will not only get UTSA students motivated about the opportunity to work with leading researchers and experts to support a unique project like this, but challenge them to be diligent with their research, acquire the experience and knowledge that will set them apart and make them role models to others,” Awolusi said.
Bin-Shafique’s expertise centers on waste and remediation geotechnics — the study and modification of soil and rocks. Awolusi’s research lies in the areas of innovation and technology in construction, sustainable infrastructure and construction materials.
The project will utilize space civil engineering expertise from Australia’s University of Adelaide Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources (ATCSR). Venturi Astrolab of Hawthorne, California, will provide consulting support for integration into the overall system architecture of their FLEX rover as a baseline robotic mobility platform operating a suite of excavation tools.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
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National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our campus community a safer, more caring place to learn. It will be held Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at Main campus from 6:00pm-8:00pm on the Student Union Paseo.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
Join Wellbeing Services, UTSA Recovery Operations, and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District as we have an informational Q&A session with guest speaker Dr. Anita Kurian from San Antonio Metropolitan Health District discussing Monkeypox.Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02,) Main Campus
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Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
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