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Feb 20, 2024

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AGH UST In Krakow On Its Way To The Moon

The University has concluded an agreement with Orbital Space

AGH has concluded a cooperation agreement with Orbital Space operating in the United Arab Emirates. The agreement allows students, among others, to: development and testing of the “Lunaris” device used to study the interaction of selected materials and coatings with lunar dust – regolith.

The concluded agreement is the result of the success of the AGH Lunar Technologies scientific group, which won the competition called “Experiment on the Moon: Lunar Payload Mission” organized in May 2023 by Orbital Space, defeating over 400 projects from around the world. The main prize is the opportunity to send the designed device to the Moon in 2025, and its flight will be provided by Orbital Space. This will be the first mission of this type to include a payload constructed by a Polish team and one of the first cooperation between Poland and the United Arab Emirates in the space sector.

To enable students to develop the project and improve it before launch, AGH signed a cooperation agreement with the organizer and sponsor of the competition, Orbital Space. The contract and cooperation with the company will be coordinated by the AGH Space Technology Center.

– We support all such initiatives of students with great commitment. They are extremely important not only from an educational point of view, but also important for the participation of Polish engineers and scientists in space exploration. In line with our mission, we provide significant technical support, facilitate contact with companies interested in sponsoring the project, and help prepare all documents related to the mission – explains Prof. Tadeusz Uhl, director of CTK AGH.

Orbital Space Director Dr. Bassam Alfeeli adds:

– We are excited about the cooperation with AGH. We will support the student team from Poland in realizing their dreams. Both of our institutions are also committed to providing mentoring, guidance and all possible support to students in their unique mission to send cargo to the lunar surface. Orbital Space’s mission is to make space accessible to everyone, especially students.

The cooperation between AGH and Orbital Space also includes, among others: conducting educational activities and initiatives aimed at raising public awareness of space exploration. The parties to the agreement also assume the possibility of co-organizing workshops, webinars, conferences, competitions, student competitions or courses in the field of space technologies.

“Lunaris” will fly to the Moon in 2025

The primary goal of the agreement is to develop the students’ experiment “Lunaris”, which will be carried out on the lunar surface. Members of the scientific club’s goal is to study the interaction of materials and coatings with regolith, i.e. loose lunar rock. In addition to the structure they used rapid prototyping techniques, the students also developed the electronics and software of the device. The finished load also had to meet the requirements for dimensions of 10 × 10 × 10 cm and weight of up to 200 g. The study will use an optical measurement method that will allow understanding the interaction of regolith with various materials. Regolith is characterized by high dustiness, sharp edges and electrostatically charged particles. These and other properties of lunar dust cause many difficulties in selecting the appropriate material.

“Lunaris” will be one of the first lunar payloads printed using 3-D printing technology, which will allow obtaining geometries that would be difficult to achieve using other methods. The device will be made of a material adapted to the extreme conditions in space. The name of the project “Lunaris” was created by combining words. The first part is the Latin word luna meaning Moon. The second part is a tribute to the inspiring work of Stanisław Lem and his most famous novel “Solaris”. Research on the interaction of materials with regolith is crucial for future lunar exploration missions. The results of the “Lunaris” project may be used in the construction of tools, astronaut suits, cables and connectors used on lunar landers and rovers that will be resistant to contact with the lunar surface.

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Orbital Space, a technology company operating in the United Arab Emirates,  is engaged in the exploitation of space and the development of related technologies. It is preparing the first private lunar mission initiated by Arab countries for 2025. Additionally, with a focus on space missions and scientific research, Orbital Space is at the forefront of commercial space exploration in the Persian Gulf countries, working with both public and private partners. Its mission is to support academic teams in space research.

https://www.agh.edu.pl/aktualnosci/detail/agh-w-drodze-na-ksiezyc-uczelnia-zawarla-umowe-z-firma-orbital-space