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Prompted by a now deleted question about practicalities of operating a SpaceX Starship from unprepared terrain on the moon I found this 2022 solicitation for studies around 'Lunar Surface Site Preparation'. It has a number of interesting resource links, including this 2019 summary suggesting rockets digging big holes and debris damage during landing is a hard problem. What it did not not appear to have was any record of successful submissions or resulting work.

Is this a failure on my behalf at navigating the webpage, no public announcement of successful proposals or simply no proposals submitted?

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  • $\begingroup$ I would have loved to see Masten's FAST system explored further, if only because it is so outlandishly cool. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2023 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag Unfortunately, Masten declared bankruptcy last July. Their pre-covid NASA contract did not anticipate any of the very unwonderful side effects of that pandemic. Winning that contract essentially turned out to be a death sentence for Masten. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2023 at 10:57

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This was a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) request rather than a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) request. An STTR proposal must come from a small business and must also have a partnership with a college or university. NASA lists STTRs separately from SBIRs.

Four proposals were listed as awardees for this STTR topic, "Lunar Surface Site Preparation" (topic T7-04). These are

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for chasing these down, looking at the links the contracts themselves have a while to run into 3rd quarter 2023 so any resulting published work would still be very much in progress but the proposal titles themselves are an interesting look at where the state of the art is at with lunar civil engineering. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2023 at 11:14

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