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PRIME 1 (Nova-C IM-2, CLPS 5)

PRIME 1 [Intuitive Machines]

PRIME-1 (Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1) is a NASA mission to land two instruments on the moon using Intuitive Machines' Nova-C commercial lunar lander on the Nova-C IM-2 mission.

The Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1 (PRIME-1) will be the first in-situ resource utilization demonstration on the Moon. Additionally, for the first time, NASA will robotically sample and analyze for ice from below the surface.

The data from PRIME-1 will help scientists understand in-situ resources on the Moon, including resource location mapping. PRIME-1 contributes to NASA’s search for water at the Moon’s poles, supporting the agency’s plans to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by the end of the decade.

Following instruments are on board:

  • The Regolith and Ice Drill for Exploring New Terrain (TRIDENT): TRIDENT will drill up to 1 meter deep, extracting lunar regolith, or soil, up to the surface. The instrument can drill in multiple segments, pausing and retracting to deposit cuttings on the surface after each depth increment.
  • Mass Spectrometer observing lunar operations (MSolo): This modified-for-spaceflight, commercial-off-the-shelf mass spectrometer will evaluate the drill cuttings for water and other chemical compounds. Soil samples from multiple depths will be analyzed.

Versions of TRIDENT and MSolo will also fly on NASA’s VIPER rover mission that will search for ice at the lunar South Pole in 2023. PRIME-1’s early use of the drill and MSolo helps to increase the likelihood of reliable operation of those payloads on VIPER’s mobile platform in the following year.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Lunar lander
Operator: Intuitive Machines
Contractors: Intuitive Machines
Equipment: TRIDENT, MSolo
Configuration: Nova-C
Propulsion: VR900
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime:
Mass: ~2000 kg
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
PRIME 1 (Nova-C IM-2, CLPS 5) - 2022 CC ? Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) with ?

References: