A top perspective drawing of the patented vertical takeoff and landing pad constructed using the jointly developed interlocking pavers. (Image: NASA)

Lunar landing and launch pads represent critical infrastructure for enabling a sustained presence on the Moon or other planetary bodies. Such a Moon presence would require repeated lunar landings and takeoffs, preferably near an outpost or habitat. In the absence of takeoff and landing pads, such vehicles could project lunar regolith at high velocities, sandblasting the surrounding infrastructure and causing damage.

Conventional paver technology does not have the capability to withstand the loads experienced by landing pads during vehicle landing or take off. Use of existing technology may result in pavers being displaced by the plume of the vehicle, or exhaust from the vehicle entering spaces between paver seams and eroding the regolith underneath the landing pad.

To address this issue, engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Sidus Space developed a novel interlocking paver system enabling the robotic construction of high-stability vertical takeoff and landing pads.

The jointly developed interlocking paver design consists of a molded solid material with tapered interlocking features that interface with features of an opposite gender in three orthogonal directions. This establishes a toleranced connection between the pavers that locks down six degrees of freedom.

More specifically, the system consists of two types of pavers: polygon and spacer pavers. Both are symmetrical about the longitudinal and transverse axes and are designed to interlock securely with one another in a checkerboard pattern.

The polygon paver features an octagonal top level and a rectangular bottom level with protrusions and recessed notches. The spacer paver has an elongated center portion with isosceles trapezoid extensions on the top level and a rectangular bottom level with protrusions and notches.

The interlocking design locks down six degrees of freedom, providing enhanced stability and preventing the flow of exhaust gases between the seams to mitigate erosion of the underlying regolith.

The pavers could be constructed leveraging in-situ resource utilization. Lunar regolith has been identified as a potential construction material. Additionally, the pavers could be installed via robotic assembly, reducing the need for human labor in harsh environments.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. For more information, visit here .