The Helelani rover atop of recently placed basalt pavers. 

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems’ (PISCES) Vertical Take-Off, Vertical Landing Pad test site is making progress.

PISCES Program Manager Rodrigo Romo said Wednesday that a total of 62 basalt pavers have been placed onto the site to date. About 100 pavers need to be placed before PISCES can test their durability. The test includes the firing of solid rocket motors onto the pad from a test stand anchored to the site.

Construction of the VTVL pad began a few months ago. The goal is to have our robotic rover build the pad by placing down pavers made from basalt found locally. A similar technique may be used in space for future space missions to mitigate the impact dust has on spacecrafts as they lift-off of planetary objects.

Development of the site is part of PISCES’ Additive Construction for Mobile Emplacement project and is a partnership with NASA Swamp Works, Honeybee Robotics, ARGO, Hawaii County Department of Research and Development and the state of Hawaii.