Mining in Space

Since 1999, we have been developing capabilities related to the prospecting for, and extraction of, resources from the Moon, Mars and asteroids.  Our approach to the development of this technology has been to leverage our terrestrial mining perspective and knowledge base.   Space mining technologies that we have successfully designed, built and tested include  various size drills, crushers, sample handling systems, plows, load/haul/dump systems, mobility platforms, rovers and robotic handling systems.  

OB-1 Lunar Highlands Regolith Simulant

OB-1 is a lunar highlands regolith simulant with mechanical properties that replicate samples returned from the Apollo 16 landing site.  It consists of a mixture of 58% Shawmere Anorthosite and 42% slag glass. These materials are crushed to achieve a particle size distribution similar to the Apollo 16 samples 64501 and 64500. 

Physical Properties 

OB-1 is recommended for excavation/flow, drilling, abrasion/wear uses as per NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's Lunar Regolith Simulant User's Guide (NASA/TM-2010-216446)

  • Minimum order quantity is 25kg @ $375 (+HST) CDN. 

  • OB-1 is currently out of stock.  To reserve a quantity in the next production run complete the reservation form.

  • Minimum production run is 12 tonnes.



  • three year NASA project

  • 1m drill, sample transfer system, crusher

  • low power, no fluids, autonomous

  • integrated to Carnegie Mellon University rover SCARAB and Juno rover

  • deployed at analogue sites in Pittsburg and on slopes of Mauna Kea (2x)


  • 1 m lunar drill, contiguous sample

  • suite of tools for augering, sample collection in consolidated and unconsolidated material

  • sample transfer receptacle for parsing sample

  • optional substrate differentiation package

  • no consumables, autonomous, tele-operable

  • deployments: NASA RESOLVE Analogue Mission 2012 

Mass: 42kg             

Volume: 2.1m x 0.05m x 0.6m 

Power: <150Watt DC nominal

Operations: 15 degree slope  

Temperature: -20C to +40C (operations);  -40C to +50C (storage)

MiniCorer Drill

  • autonomous, tele-operable

  • no consumables

  • sample size 10mm x10cm

  • robotic arm mountable

  • percussion, rotation or both

  • tools for rock abrasion, consolidated and unconsolidated sample capture

  • docks with sample hanlder unit for tool exchange, sample encapsulation

  • Integrated with a 1m manipulator arm and rover as part of the Exploration Surface Mobility project.

Mass:  drill, 6.2kg/ sample handler 6.54kg    

Power: <10Watts average

Drilling orientation: all 

Sample Handler Unit Operation: 15 degree slope

Temperature: -20C to +40C (operations);  -40C to +50C (storage)

Mass:  drill, 6.2kg/ sample handler 6.54kg    

Power: <10Watts average

Drilling orientation: all 

Sample Handler Unit Operation: 15 degree slope

Temperature: -20C to +40C (operations);  -40C to +50C (storage)


testing at NASA Glenn VF13 Dirty

Thermal Vacuum Chamber

  • 1 m lunar drill

  • advancement of DESTIN drill head to TRL6

  • auger with bit temperature sensor, consolidated and unconsolidated material capture

  • Successfully drilled and captured sample in NASA Glenn dirty thermal vacuum chamber (LN2, 10-6 Torr). 

  • Drilling medium: 2% and 5% frozen moisture CHENOBI (TM) simulant.

Mass: <20kg 

Power: <60Watt average 

Temperature: operations at 100K

Volatile retention: in core samples

PROMPT (Percussive and ROtary Multi-Purpose Tool)

  • small (<5kg) multi-function tool for use on Mars and the moon 

  • autonomous

  • suite of tools for:

    • drilling and sampling rock or unconsolidated material (sample 5cm x 1cm)

    • chiseling

    • scooping

    • abrading

    • drilling and tapping metal

    • fastening or loosening bolts

  • CSA funded

Mass: <5kg             

Volume: <6000cm3

Power: 30-70W avg depending on operation

Operations: any orientation

Temperature: -10C to +40C (operations);  -20C to +51C (storage)

TRL: 4+


Automated End Effector Exchanger

  • robotic tool exchanger for unconstrained locations to accommodate multiple end effectors (tools) on a manipulator arm

  • coarse and fine self alignment features (misalignment tolerance of radial, angular, and axial offsets)

  • locks to tool grapple fixture to provide mechanical rigidity in all three axes

  • automatic coupling of power and data connections

  • dust tolerant

  • CSA funded

Fuel Cell

  • CSA funded

  • air breathing fuel cell

  • integrated system controller, energy management system, hydrogen detection system, hydride tanks and fuel cell power module

  • powered excavation system which delivered regolith to NASA Oxygen production plant

  • hydrogen by-product of Oxygen production plant used to re-charge fuel cell

Mobility Enabled In Situ Resource Utilization

  • CSA funded project developed:

  • set of 6 battery powered, radio remote controlled, mobility chassis capable of carrying interchangeable payloads

  • 3 plows, load/haul/dump payload, GPR mechanical and operator interface

  • tandem chassis

  • utilized in analogue deployment on slopes of Mauna Kea in 2010 to mobilize: 

    • NASA RESOLVE payload (including Deltion's DESTIN drill)

    • fuel cell as a range extender

    • NASA Mossbauer instrument

2010 Mission Simulation

  • 21 day mission simulation involving >100 scientists, private organization, universities, space agencies from 3 countries

  • integration of various projects: Deltion mobility chassis, load/haul/dump, plows, fuel cell, NASA RESOLVE, Oxygen Production, Mossbauer, augmented reality, remote medical operations

  • mission management role

    • schedule​

    • infrastructure (shelter, power, comms, etc)

    • logistics

    • procedures 

    • administration

© 2019 by Deltion Innovations Ltd.  

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