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Nasa Senior Design: Mineral Separation Technology For Lunar Regolith Simulant Production

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Design with External Clients

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.904.1 - 15.904.9



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Paper Authors


William Cross South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Dr. William M. Cross is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His areas of interest include mineral processing, polymer matrix composite materials, wind energy and archaeometallurgy.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

NASA Senior Design: Mineral Separation Technology for Lunar Regolith Simulant Production


A NASA-ESMD (National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Exploration Systems Mission Directorate) funded senior design project “Mineral Separation Technology for Lunar Regolith Simulant Production” is directed toward designing processes to produce simulant materials as close to lunar regolith as possible. The eight undergraduate (junior and senior) students involved are taking a systems engineering design approach to identifying the most pressing concerns in simulant needs, then designing subsystems and processing strategies to meet these needs using terrestrial materials. This allows the students to, not only learn the systems engineering design process, but also, to make a significant contribution to an important NASA ESMD project.

This paper will primarily be focused on the implementation aspect, particularly related to the systems engineering process, of this NASA EMSD senior design project. In addition comparison of the NASA ESMD group experience to the implementation of systems engineering practices into a group of existing design projects is given.


Prior to the discussion of the implementation of system’s engineering into engineering design, a brief background on the curricular structure of the Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (MME) department and how the design courses fit into the curriculum is given.

MME Course Stream

The design courses are structured to integrate material learned in core courses with the solution of problems within the field. Typically, students enter the design courses in their junior year having taken two core classes – Introduction to Mineral Processing and Properties of Materials. Both of these are three hour lecture and one hour laboratory courses. During their junior year, MME students primarily take discipline specific classes, usually 7-11 credit hours per semester. The courses and hours taken are variable as the MME department is relatively small, ~20 students per year, and the upper division classes are offered on an every other year basis to ensure that the number of students in each course is of sufficient size to meet minimum size requirements1.

Design Stream

Beginning in the 2008-09 academic year, the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (MME) at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology revamped the design curriculum. The design curriculum consisted of MET 351—Engineering Design I and 352— Engineering Design II for juniors and MET 464—Engineering Design III and MET 465— Engineering Design IV for seniors2. The purpose and objectives of these classes can be

Cross, W. (2010, June), Nasa Senior Design: Mineral Separation Technology For Lunar Regolith Simulant Production Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16055

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