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NASA Reveals Final Candidates for Lunar Exploration Rover Development in Artemis Project

Imagination of a lunar exploration rover. Photo = NASA

In the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s manned lunar exploration, which resumes after half a century, the rover that will run on the lunar surface has been narrowed down to three candidates.

NASA announced on its official blog on the 3rd (local time) that the final candidates for the development of the ‘Lunar Terrane Vehicle (LTV)’ for the Artemis project are ‘Intuitive Machines’, ‘Luna Outpost’, and ‘Venturi Astrolab’. ‘ It was announced that three companies were selected.

Lunar Rover used during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Photo = NASA

These three companies will develop LTVs that NASA’s lunar exploration project ‘Artemis’ astronauts will ride on the moon by 2030. This is a new lunar exploration vehicle introduced 50 years after Apollo 15 in 1971.

LTV should assist astronauts in exploring terrain that cannot be reached on foot. For this reason, in addition to a maximum speed of 15 km per hour and a driving range of 20 km on a single charge, it must be possible to operate remotely without a driver.

Intuitive Machines’ lunar exploration rover ‘Moon Racer’ concept. Photo = Intuitive Machines
Luna Outpost’s lunar exploration rover ‘Luna Dawn’ concept. Photo = Luna Outpost
Venturi Astrolab’s lunar exploration rover ‘Flex’ concept. Photo = Venturi Astrolab

In addition, it must be able to operate in extreme environments and be equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as power management and cutting-edge communication and navigation systems.

Each company will develop their rover concepts over the next 12 months under NASA’s feasibility work order. Afterwards, it will compete as a concept vehicle in major demonstrations ahead of the launch of Artemis 5, which is scheduled to launch in March 2030.

NASA will enter into LTV service contracts with companies rather than simple LTV supply contracts. The project size is $4.6 billion (approximately 6.22 trillion won). The winning company will play a comprehensive role in not only manufacturing the lunar exploration rover, but also transporting the rover to the lunar south pole and helping execute operations on the lunar surface.

Reporter Seo Hee-won [email protected]

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