New Space and Tech

Helios and Eta Space Combine Technologies to Extract and Store Liquid Oxygen on the Moon

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Eta Space
August 9, 2022
Filed under , , , , ,
Helios and Eta Space Combine Technologies to Extract and Store Liquid Oxygen on the Moon
Oxygen depot on the moon
Eta Space

Two space tech companies, Helios and Eta Space, today announce they are joining forces to solve the problem of oxygen in space. If humanity is to have a sustainable presence beyond Earth, the reusable methane-fueled rocket systems need liquid oxygen at a ratio of 1:4, so the only cost-effective solution to refueling in orbit is to create and store oxygen on the Moon and on Mars.

Helios, which is backed by the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and which recently announced funding from several venture capital firms, has developed an electrochemical reactor capable of extracting oxygen from the lunar regolith, which is made of approximately 45% oxygen. Their proprietary technology and process has proven effective and is being used terrestrially for the extraction of other elements, such as iron.

Eta Space, located on the Space Coast of Florida, specializes in production, storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants. Its founder and CEO, Dr. William Notardonato, worked for 30 years at NASA and is a specialist in cryogenic technologies, specifically liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

“Eta Space would play the important role of liquifying and storing the oxygen produced by the Helios reactor in cryogenic tanks,” explained Dr. Notardonato. “The two companies complement each other with their mission to reduce costs in space even further, a key step to make beyond earth presence sustainable.”

Space Florida, the aerospace and spaceport development authority for the State of Florida, and the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent, publicly funded agency created to address the needs of the local and international innovation ecosystems, recently announced the ninth-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.

In October 2013, Florida and Israel established a $2 million recurring joint fund to support research, development, and commercialization of aerospace and technology projects that benefit both Israel and Florida. For this Call for Projects, five teams have been selected for this ninth round of awards.

As one of the winning teams, Eta Space and Helios will leverage each other’s expertise in cryogenic and chemical engineering, to develop an integrated lunar oxygen production and liquefaction plant, a critical step toward a sustainable cislunar industry.

“In order to enable the establishment of a permanent lunar base, Helios’ technology is not enough – a whole set of technologies are required to realize the lunar economic value chain,” said Jonathan Geifman, Helios CEO and co-founder. “This new collaboration with Eta Space will for the first time connect two purely commercial links in the chain – the production and the storage of oxygen – thus making multiple and long-term missions to the moon closer to being economically viable.”

About Eta Space

Founded in 2019 by former NASA and contractor personnel with over 130 years of combined experience in aerospace cryogenics, Eta Space is a technology development company that specializes in applying advanced cryogenic systems to solve critical problems in the new space and the hydrogen energy economy. Eta Space is currently developing efficient cryogenic storage and transfer systems on Earth, in orbit, and on the Moon.

About Helios

Helios is an Israeli company founded in 2018, supported by the Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Ministry of Energy and the Innovation Authority. The company’s vision is to enable sustainable human life on Earth and beyond. Among its core technologies are systems to produce oxygen on the lunar surface and iron on Earth with zero direct carbon emissions. Visit

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.