June 25, 2024

Shiv Telegram Media: Companies awarded contracts for lunar vehicle design

2 min read
Shiv Telegram Media: Companies awarded contracts for lunar vehicle design

NASA has recently awarded contracts to three companies – Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab – to develop a vehicle to transport astronauts around the Moon during the upcoming Artemis missions. The new lunar terrain vehicle is expected to be fully operational by 2030, specifically for the Artemis V crew.

Each of the three companies will embark on a year-long special study to develop a system that meets NASA’s strict requirements. Intuitive Machines, in particular, has secured a $30 million contract for the initial feasibility assessment. Following this phase, only one company will be chosen to receive the subsequent award for a demonstration mission, continuing the development of the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). The total value of the contract program for the LTV is an impressive $4.6 billion.

NASA’s requirements for the lunar vehicles include the ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures, feature a robotic arm, semi-autonomous driving capabilities, and provide space for two astronauts. The vehicles are crucial in increasing astronauts’ ability to explore and conduct scientific experiments on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines unveiled their lunar terrain vehicle, named RACER, while Venturi Astrolab presented the FLEX rover and Lunar Outpost showcased their design with a reconfigurable cargo bed. The winning company will also have the opportunity to deploy their vehicle commercially on the moon when NASA is not utilizing it.

It has been over five decades since U.S. astronauts last ventured to the moon, with the historic first crewed moon landing in 1969 captivating 650 million viewers worldwide. With these new developments, NASA’s Artemis missions aim to reignite interest and exploration of our closest celestial neighbor.

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