Helios, the Israeli startup developing tech to produce oxygen and metals from lunar soil, signed an agreement with European multinational tech corporation OHB SE to provide their space tech for a future lunar landing system called LSAS (Lunar Surface Access Service.) As part of the agreement, Helios announced earlier this week that its technology will be aboard the first three LSAS missions to the moon by 2025.
“OHB will provide European and international customers from the scientific and business communities timely access to the moon. In the development of the lunar economic market, we intend to fill a gap with LSAS as the first European lunar shuttle service, since according to current plans, an institutional European moon lander will be available in 2029 at the earliest,” says Dr. Lutz Bertling, member of the OHB SE Management Board. “When payloads for lunar missions are tendered in the near future, we want to be ready with our LSAS lunar landing service.”
OHB partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at least two years ago to produce the system. As part of an effort to bring scientific and commercial payloads to the lunar surface by 2025, IAI, Helios, and OHB’s Space Systems and Aerospace division will join forces to transfer customers’ payloads that weigh between 80 to 110 kilograms to the moon. There are over 100 interested parties from science and industry that have contacted us, OHB’s Séverine Jacquet said.
OHB SE will manage and coordinate the LSAS project and the individual missions to the Moon as well as select the payloads and integrate them into their own lunar landers.
Helios was founded in 2018 and is backed by the Israeli Space Agency, Israeli Ministry of Energy, and Israeli Innovation Authority. The company’s vision is to enable sustainable human life on Earth and beyond. Among its core developments are reactors to produce oxygen on the lunar surface and reactors to produce iron and silicon on Earth with zero carbon emissions.
“Production of oxygen on the lunar surface is key to enable the expansion of humanity beyond Earth and to dramatically reduce the cost of space exploration. Oxygen is going to be the most sought-after consumable in space as it makes up over 60% of the mass of any fully-loaded space vehicle designated for lunar missions and beyond,” said Helios’ CEO, Jonathan Geifman. “Helios’ lunar mission with OHB serves to mature its oxygen production technology under real lunar environment, and is a significant step to realize the upcoming cislunar industry.”
“Returning and establishing a permanent base on the Moon requires international cooperation and the creation of partnerships between space agencies and privately-held companies,” said BG (Res.) Uri Oron, Director General of the Israel Space Agency. “Helios, an Israeli startup supported by the Israel Space Agency, is an example of a company that will become a key player in the efforts to return to the moon. The Israeli Space Agency welcomes the cooperation between OHB SE, Helios and Israel Aerospace Industries. This cooperation demonstrates the strong, long-lasting relationship between Germany and Israel, and the contribution this partnership can yield to the space industry.”