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Lockheed and GM Paired to Develop New NASA Rover

May 26, 2021
The Artemis project aims to explore far distances of the Moon’s surface -- and a next-generation Lunar Terrain Vehicle will draw on the automaker’s battery-electric and autonomous technologies.

Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Motors Co. announced they will work together to develop “next-generation” lunar vehicles for NASA’s Artemis program. The Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) will be a response to NASA’s bid for manufacturers to develop the means for astronauts to explore greater expanses of the lunar surface than has been possible up to now.

Artemis is the program NASA initiated in 2017 to transport humans to the Moon by 2024 (now, by the mid-2020s), and specifically to the Moon’s southern pole – reportedly a rugged terrain and very cold atmosphere. It would be the first human mission to the Moon since the Apollo program ended in 1972.

While the Apollo rover traveled 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from the landing site, the next-generation lunar vehicles will be designed for significantly farther distances.

Lockheed Martin will lead the development team, based on its history of working directly with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, including the Orion spaceship to be adopted for Artemis, and other spacecraft for Mars and planetary exploration.

GM is expected to contribute its capabilities for battery-electric technologies and propulsion systems, as well as autonomous technology.

According to Rick Ambrose, EVP, Lockheed Martin Space, “Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface. These next-generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts as they perform high-priority science investigation on the Moon that will ultimately impact humanity’s understanding of our place in the solar system.”

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