NASA chooses Canoo to build ground transport for its next lunar mission

PR opportunities don’t get any better than this. American modular electric vehicle maker Canoo has been honored to transport astronauts, support personnel and equipment for NASA’s upcoming Artemis Lunar mission as they travel the 22-minute drive between operations and the Kennedy Space Center launch site in Florida. Canoo will provide NASA with several crew transport vehicles and thus contribute to humanity’s first visit to the surface of the Moon in more than 50 years.

Design file
Canoo’s specially modified LVs (Lifestyle Vehicles) will need to make room for a crew of fully adapted astronauts, support personnel and any equipment they need to bring with them that is not already on board the rocket. The LV is well suited for this purpose, as its modular design with underfloor mechanicals maximizes interior space and utility while keeping a relatively compact footprint.

The platform supports a range of body styles that Canoo calls “interchangeable top hats” and it will be the shape of the van that drives the crew to the launch pad. Canoo says there are over 160 patents on the platform’s components and it’s built for the future with built-in redundancies and optimization for proprietary software delivered via over-the-air updates.

Canoo’s very clever press release on the contract highlights that the platform takes inspiration from spacecraft engineering by creating a product with a low component count to make maintenance and future upgrades less expensive. throughout its lifetime.

Interior view of the Canoo LV with its rectangular steering wheel.

Artemis One
The mission goals are hugely ambitious, with humans not only visiting the Moon, but establishing a long-term human and robotic presence on and around the surface. Once that’s done, the plan is to use the Moon to stage future crewed missions to Mars, which is about 240,000 miles from the base. Artemis will land the first woman and person of color on the surface of the Moon and is named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology. Fittingly, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, and the Moon, with humanity’s last visit to the lunar surface named after her twin.

Artist's rendering of astronauts performing tasks on the surface of the Moon.
Here to stay: NASA’s Artemis lunar mission aims to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon.

Airstream Astrovan
Being chosen for a job like this is a boon for Canoo and the association the brand will get from being committed to the mission will do wonders for it. Canoo’s custom LVs will join other vehicles that have become legends through their association with NASA, like the one pictured below. It’s a purpose-built 1983 Airstream Excella and to many gearheads, its sleek silver body and NASA logos are as instantly recognizable as the rockets that carry astronauts into space. It became known as Astrovan, although it is unclear if Canoo’s LVs will bear the same name.

Image showing the Airstream Excella RV known as the Astrovan.

“We are honored to transport the crew of Artemis to the launch site for the first human lunar landing in over 50 years. NASA’s selection of our innovative technologies to take a diverse team of American astronauts to the Moon demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainable transportation.As a high-tech mobility company, we are inspired by the pioneering and pioneering spirit of NASA.Our bespoke vehicles are modular and upgradeable throughout their cycle of life with a high level of end-of-life recyclability. Canoo’s Made in America electric vehicles embody our country’s ingenuity and bold determination to reclaim global technological leadership for America and its allied nations. We are proud to be a NASA partner in one of the greatest companies in the world.” – Tony Aquilla, President and CEO of Canoo

Canoo plans to begin production in late 2022 with NASA LVs scheduled for June 2023. The company is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it also operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing site. Pryor, Oklahoma was chosen as the location for Canoo’s first “mega micro-factory” with plans to open a number of smaller factories across the country, as opposed to one or two huge Gigafactory-style complexes. .

Images by Canoo and NASA licensed under CC BY 2.0.

James Walker is an automotive journalist at Torque News focusing on Lucid Motors. If he has wheels, he’s interested and he can’t wait to see what kind of cars the EV revolution will bring us. Whether it’s fast, slow, new or old, James wants to take a look and share it in print and video, ideally with some twisty roads involved. You can connect with James at TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

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