Updated: Feb 20
PARK CITY, UTAH, May 21, 2021: Uplift Aerospace has successfully prototyped their first lunar-regolith concrete called “Luna-crete” (™). Luna-crete was constructed using simulated lunar regolith provided by Exolith Lab as an aggregate. This successful development of regolith-based concrete has far-reaching implications for future lunar development and off-world manufacturing.
Artistic concept of a lunar base.
Luna-crete and the advanced lunar regolith processing systems that Uplift Aerospace is developing play an important role in Uplift’s mission of establishing a multiplanetary marketplace. By creating products in space, Uplift believes it can establish a financially viable marketplace for space and Earth-based customers.
After curing for just seven days, Uplift’s prototype Luna-crete hit an impressive benchmark: More than 3,200 psi of compressive strength. Seven days of curing typically represent 65% of a concrete’s final compressive strength, which signals that Luna-crete’s final compressive strength will likely lie above 6,000 psi, a benchmark exceeding Uplift’s first milestone.
Luna-crete compressive strength test on an Instron.
With these encouraging results, Uplift announced its intention to continue developing a system capable of collecting, filtering, and casting durable concrete structures on the Moon, with an aim to finalize a prototype for advanced lunar concrete manufacturing by the end of 2022. To help achieve this goal, Uplift has set up a testing lab at the University of Utah in order to rapidly test various Luna-crete prototype designs.
One of the central challenges facing lunar colonization involves the immense expense of transporting materials from Earth. Current commercial lunar missions cost around $544,000/pound to fly materials safely to the lunar surface. For reference, it would cost about $20,000,000 to send ONE cinder block to the lunar surface. Given this financial limitation, development of construction technologies like Luna-crete is a prerequisite for many international space organization’s goals of establishing lunar bases.
With continued iterations and improvements, Uplift hopes to develop a proof-of-concept on the Moon’s surface in collaboration with industry partners. Uplift Aerospace foresees Luna-crete playing a pivotal role in the construction of habitats, landing pads, and other structures on the surface of the Moon.
“Luna-crete represents a massive step forward for Uplift Aerospace,” Uplift CEO Josh Hanes stated. “It shows our commitment towards the company’s first pillar: product development and manufacturing in space.”
Artists painting an exterior rocket panel for testing the durability of the materials. Uplift Aerospace has successfully pioneered the method for artists to hand-paint murals and incredible artworks on the exterior of rockets. These artworks will be some of the most durable ever created and represent Uplift’s work to develop in-space products.
Hanes continued, “Our other two pillars include establishing a physical marketplace and developing cutting-edge currency systems. While Luna-crete is a foundation for our long-term space-manufacturing goals, in the medium term we hope to establish a resilient digital currency and, in the short term, a marketplace located in low-earth-orbit.”