Lunexus Space Awarded Competitive Grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation
Denver, Colorado 25 January 2024

R&D funding accelerates the translation of results to impact

Lunexus Space, LLC has been awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $275,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on creating a fluidized bed chemical reactor for microgravity.

This approach to on-orbit solar panel recycling will help pave the way for on-orbit manufacturing, which is expected to bring significant transformations to a wide range of space activities, as well as to promote a circular space economy, lowering the cost of orbital power and simultaneously providing an economic incentive for satellite/debris reclamation, thus mitigating orbital congestion. It’s also possible this technology, like many space technologies may have benefits to the terrestrial markets as well.

“NSF accelerates the translation of emerging technologies into transformative new products and services,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. “We take great pride in funding deep-technology startups and small businesses that will shape science and engineering results into meaningful solutions for today and tomorrow.”

Says Greg Vialle of Lunexus, “We are beyond thrilled at the confidence the NSF has entrusted in the technology we’re developing. Our work is cut out for us to ensure we continue solving the hard problems of orbital processing. The sky is not the limit; it’s the just the beginning for orbital manufacturing. This award puts Lunexus on a great trajectory to create a circular economy in space.

All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. Once a small business is awarded a Phase I grant, it becomes eligible to apply for Phase II funding and additional supplements totaling up to $2 million. To get started, startups or entrepreneurs submit a written Project Pitch to see if their technology idea could be a good fit for the program. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:

NSF has several programs that help accelerate the translation of research results to practice and provide pathways for researchers, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to move their ideas from the laboratory to the market and society. To learn more about how NSF helps unlock future technologies for national and societal impact, visit:

About the U.S. National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards more than $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development, helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $9.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

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