A Proposed Methodology for Ranking Space Resource Utilization Processes

by R. D. Waldron, Rockwell Int, Downey, United States,
A. H. Cutler, Rockwell Int, Downey, United States,

Abstract: A recent survey paper on lunar manufacturing identified 26 initial steps previously proposed as primary routes for lunar processing. Most of these have not been studied in sufficient detail to permit reliable plant mass estimates. An even broader range of possible technologies exists for Marian resource utilization. A methodology for screening and final selection of candidate processes is proposed to ensure timely development of practical technology to support the general goals of the space exploration initiative. This consists of a 3-component rating system based on benefit, cost, and risk variables. Benefits include the nature, diversity and yield of products. The relative values of propellants and non-propellant products may be expected to change as lunar or planetary exploration & base programs mature. Cost factors include facility specific mass, development and transport costs, and deployment & operational manpower requirements. Risk factors may be expressed in terms of forecast values for plant availability and expected lifetimes. These parameters are subject to improvement through R&D. Parameter definitions and qualitative assessments for candidate processes are presented. The current data base is insufficient to support final process selection.

Subject Headings: Moon | Space colonies | Risk management | Manufacturing | Parameters (statistics) | Geomatic surveys | Permits | Space exploration

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