After testing its FLEX rover within the California desert final yr, Astrolab is now planning to move the car to the Moon. The astronautics startup signed an settlement with SpaceX to ship Astrolab’s first lunar rover to the Moon on a future Starship mission.
A Transformer Is Headed to the Moon
On Friday, Astrolab announced that SpaceX would use its Starship launch and touchdown system to move the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover to the floor of the Moon by mid-2026. The rover will probably be carrying round 2,200 kilos of buyer cargo (1,000 kilograms) to the Moon, the small print of which will probably be introduced quickly.
Astrolab, in partnership with Venturi Group, designed a fleet of its FLEX rovers with one purpose in thoughts: supporting a sustainable presence of people on the Moon. The rovers are designed to ship payloads to the Moon, in addition to transport two astronauts throughout the lunar floor. FLEX can be designed with a robotic arm and science mast just like NASA’s Mars rovers and likewise an antenna to supply fixed high-bandwidth communication with Earth. The concept is for the FLEX rover fleet to additionally in the future go to Mars and help a human presence on the Red Planet, in response to Astrolab.
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“Our Astrolab team has created much more than a rover for use on the Moon or Mars,” Jaret Matthews, founder and CEO of Astrolab, said in the company’s statement. “We expect that that this approach will help establish a permanent lunar outpost on the Moon at a lower cost and in less time than previously envisioned.”
The California-based startup is hoping to land a contract from NASA as part of the space agency’s Artemis program to the Moon. In order to support astronauts’ sustainable presence on and around the Moon, NASA is looking for ideas for a Lunar Terrain Vehicle concept. The space agency is expected to issue a call for proposals in May.
Related article: The Definitive Guide to SpaceX’s Starship Megarocket
SpaceX’s Starship can be integrated in NASA’s lunar program as per a $2.89 billion contract to land astronauts on the Moon by late 2025 as a part of the Artemis 3 mission. But Starship is but to achieve orbit, with its inaugural flight struggling numerous delays. Although current media reports counsel Starship might fly for the primary time in April, however now we have realized to not take these claims to coronary heart.
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