July 1, 2019
Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC (Alpha Space) announces that NASA selected the company to build a payload destined for the Moon called the Regolith Adherence Characterization (RAC) experiment under its Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads (LSITP) program.
“America is going to the Moon again, this time with a uniquely American combination of commercial and government efforts” stated Mark Gittleman, Alpha Space president and CEO. “RAC is going to help scientists and engineers understand how the lunar soil, or regolith, interacts with all of the modern materials that have been developed over the past 50 years”.
The RAC payload is designed to operate on any of the Commercial Lunar Payload Service lunar landers that are under development. It is also designed so that future variations can accommodate a variety of other science investigations. Stephanie Murphy, Alpha Space’s Founder and Chair points out that “We learned during the Apollo missions that lunar dust and soil is coarse and abrasive, almost like sandpaper. RAC will allow government and private users developing future spacecraft, spacesuits, and habitats to test, improve, and protect their materials, coatings, fabrics, and mechanisms from the damage that regolith can cause.”
NASA’s LSITP program requires that payloads in the first round of selections be ready for flight in under one year.
“We’re honored to have been selected to play a part in America’s return to the Moon” added Gittleman. “Alpha Space has a dedicated team of smart, hard-working, creative people and is the only woman-owned company in the world to own and operate an external testing facility in space. The same team that integrates and launches science missions to the MISSE facility on the International Space Station designed the RAC payload. We’re excited by the idea of extending materials science and testing to the lunar surface and helping to expand human presence in space.”