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NIMPH: Nano Icy Moons Propellant Harvester

Michael VanWoerkom
ExoTerra Resource

Nano Icy Moons Propellant Harvester
Graphic depiction of NIMPH: Nano Icy Moons Propellant Harvester Credits: M. VanWoerkom

According to the decadal study, a key component of the next 10 years of exploration will be sample return missions. However, these missions are exponentially more expensive than traditional exploration missions because they need two times the delta-V, resulting in exponential growth of its initial mass due to the rocket equations. A key to offsetting this increased cost is through in-situ resource utilization and miniaturization.

The NIMPH project develops a micro-ISRU system for producing LOx and LH2 for return propellant. The system takes advantage of developments in the cubesat arena to reduce the dry mass of the ISRU system by 90% compared to current systems. This will allow missions to refuel at their destinations, such as Europa, Mars and the Lunar poles, drastically reducing the size and cost of the mission.

2018 Phase I and Phase II Selections