Officials and customers of space and defense technology company Aegis Aerospace Inc. are celebrating a space exploration milestone with the delivery of Aegis Aerospace’s lunar payload “RAC-1”, along with its 15 customer material experiments, to Firefly Aerospace for integration onto the Blue Ghost Mission 1 lunar lander. Blue Ghost Mission 1 is scheduled to launch in 2024.
The Regolith Adherence Characterization – 1st Flight (RAC-1) platform will be used to determine how lunar soil, called regolith, interacts with a variety of modern materials when exposed to deep space and the Moon’s environment at each phase of a lunar mission. The material samples will be exposed to space during transit to the Moon and then to the natural and induced environments as the Blue Ghost lands on the lunar surface and conducts lunar operations. Each sample will be photographed from above and below throughout the lunar day (14 Earth days) while environmental data is logged for future analysis.
“We need to understand how modern materials interact with lunar regolith in order to develop robust and reliable lunar surface systems,” stated Aegis Aerospace chief strategy officer Mark Gittleman. “RAC-1 is carrying candidate surface system material samples from NASA, academia, and industry. Given the challenges of designing for the lunar surface and how little we know about how modern materials and technologies interact with regolith, we think this will be the first of many lunar Space Testing as a Service (STaaS) missions that we offer with RAC and our other lunar testing platform SSTEF (Space System Test & Evaluation Facility). We invented STaaS with our MISSE facility on the International Space Station, and now we’re looking forward to continuing our successful collaboration with NASA and our STaaS customers on the Moon.”
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