Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Home Technology Austin-based ICON awarded $57.2 million NASA contract for lunar construction tech •...

Austin-based ICON awarded $57.2 million NASA contract for lunar construction tech • TechCrunch

ICON, a development tech firm that’s raised greater than $400 million in funding, has landed a brand new contract from NASA to develop new methods to construct on the moon and Mars.

The $57.2 million contract is a continuation of a earlier Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis (SBIR) dual-use contract with the U.S. Air Pressure, which was partly funded by NASA. This award will assist the event of what ICON is asking “Venture Olympus,” an bold plan to construct constructions on the moon and Mars utilizing in-situ assets.

“To vary the house exploration paradigm from ‘there and again once more’ to ‘there to remain,’ we’re going to wish strong, resilient, and broadly succesful methods that may use the native assets of the Moon and different planetary our bodies,” ICON CEO Jason Ballard stated in a press release. It’s clear that NASA agrees. Certainly, the company has explicitly said that one of many targets of its bold Artemis lunar program is to determine a long-term human presence on the moon. However as of but, NASA has established no clear plans on the place these astronauts will keep as soon as they get there.

ICON, which is best-known for its 3D-printed properties, has been engaged on Venture Olympus for a while. The corporate was awarded the preliminary SBIR grant from the U.S. Air Pressure in October 2020 for $14.55 million. This newest funding will hold the venture alive for a handful extra years a minimum of: the contract runs by 2028.

Underneath the phrases of this contract, ICON can be working with NASA’s Marshall House Flight Middle, beneath an company enterprise known as the “Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Development Applied sciences” venture. The corporate is planning on working with samples of lunar regolith and bringing its {hardware} and software program into house to assist it develop development approaches that may greatest perform within the chilly, low-gravity ambiance of the moon. Habitats aren’t the one factor on the corporate’s radar: it’s additionally eyeing up touchdown pads and different infrastructure to assist sustained lunar exploration.

ICON has seen explosive progress since its founding in late 2017. The corporate landed a $207 million Series B final August, and closed one other $185 million scarcely six months later. Sources instructed TechCrunch that the most recent funding pushed ICON’s valuation near $2 billion.

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