Three space businesses have been given the opportunity to develop the next generation moon buggy by NASA, but only one of the designs will be sent to space. NASA may select from among the tough vehicles being developed by Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab for astronauts to drive on the lunar surface as early as next year.


The next step for the three teams is to begin a 12-month “feasibility phase,” which will end with a preliminary design assessment. Following that, the three businesses will compete for a demonstration task order in a subsequent competitive request for proposals, NASA officials clarified during a news conference on Wednesday.

At that time, the ultimate recipient will be chosen. In addition to designing the lunar terrain vehicle (LTV), the selected business will be in charge of launching and landing it on the moon before the Artemis V mission, which is presently scheduled for no earlier than 2029.

The monetary amount of the awards was not disclosed by NASA, however Intuitive Machines said in a statement that it had received a $30 million contract. Over the course of the following 13 years, the task orders have a combined potential value of $4.6 billion.

Additionally, the three teams are keeping certain details, like as battery technology and range, under wraps, though NASA stipulated that the rover must have an amazing 10-year lifespan and be able to transporting two astronauts in suits.

A team led by Intuitive Machines consists of AVL, Boeing, Michelin, and Northrop Grumman; the “Lunar Dawn” team, led by Lunar Outpost, consists of Lockheed Martin, General Motors, Goodyear, and MDA Space. Odyssey Space Research and Axiom Space join Astrolab.

Under the agency’s ambitious Artemis programme, which aims to someday create a permanent human presence on the moon, the prizes are the most recent to be given to private enterprise. Astronauts will require a means of transportation to fully explore the surface, though, and it must be able to endure the hostile lunar south pole climate, which is characterised by sharp temperature fluctuations and protracted darkness.

“Consider it as a cross between an unmanned mobile science platform and an Apollo-style lunar rover operated by our astronauts,” stated Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Centre.

According to NASA’s principal exploration scientist Jacob Bleacher, astronauts will be able to carry scientific equipment, gather samples from the surface, and travel farther than they could on foot with the help of the vehicles. The LTV will be remotely operated by humans when astronauts are not on the moon, allowing it to continue exploring the area and even greet fresh crews of astronauts when they arrive.

“We are strengthening the capabilities required to establish a longer-term exploration and presence of the moon with NASA’s Artemis campaign,” he stated. “There are no roads where it will go. Its movement will drastically alter how we perceive the moon.

The next step for the three teams is to begin a 12-month “feasibility phase,” which will end with a preliminary design assessment. Following that, the three businesses will compete for a demonstration task order in a subsequent competitive request for proposals, NASA officials clarified during a news conference on Wednesday.

At that time, the ultimate recipient will be chosen. In addition to designing the lunar terrain vehicle (LTV), the selected business will be in charge of launching and landing it on the moon before the Artemis V mission, which is presently scheduled for no earlier than 2029.

NASA did not disclose the exact amount of the prizes; nevertheless, Intuitive Machines said in a statement that it had received a $30 million award agreement. Over the course of the following 13 years, the task orders have a combined potential value of $4.6 billion.

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