Intuitive Machines To Develop Lunar Terrain Vehicle For NASA
July 20, 2024
Space Tech

Intuitive Machines To Develop Lunar Terrain Vehicle For NASA

Contract Is Worth $30 Million

NASA has entrusted Intuitive Machines, a leading commercial contractor in space exploration, with a $30 million contract to complete a Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services Feasibility Assessment.

This initiative marks Intuitive Machines’ entry into human spaceflight operations within NASA’s ambitious $4.6 billion Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) Services project.

Intuitive Machines’ global team, in a strategic alignment with NASA’s objectives, will lead the creation of a roadmap to develop and deploy a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) on the Moon.

This will be done utilising the company’s Nova-D cargo-class lunar lander. This alignment underscores Intuitive Machines’ proven capability to deliver payloads to the lunar surface under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus sees this procurement as a strategic move that further solidifies the company’s position as a proven commercial contractor in lunar exploration.

He envisions the global team providing essential lunar infrastructure services to NASA, with the company retaining ownership of the vehicle for commercial utilisation during periods of non-NASA activity over approximately ten years of lunar surface activity.

Partners Group

Intuitive Machines’ Moon Reusable Autonomous Crewed Exploration Rover (RACER) global team partners, comprising AVL, Boeing, Michelin, and Northrop Grumman, will contribute their expertise to develop a robust LTV design architecture with advanced power management, autonomous driving, communications, and navigation systems for lunar exploration.

AVL, a global mobility technology company, will focus on drivetrain, steering, and suspension systems crucial for lunar surface mobility, leveraging its expertise in battery electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

Boeing will lead the LTV system’s design, with Northrop Grumman’s support in power systems and other vehicle systems, mission planning, and training.

Michelin will tackle the challenge of designing lunar wheels capable of operating in extreme lunar conditions.

The Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services vehicle plays a pivotal role in NASA’s Artemis campaign, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface and demonstrate American leadership in space exploration.

NASA’s LTV Services project has a total programme value exceeding $4 billion and is structured across two phases with multiple potential awardees. Intuitive Machines anticipates bidding on the phase two LTV services award after completing the phase one feasibility assessment award.

As Intuitive Machines continues demonstrating its capability and reliability in lunar operations, the LTV services award is expected to support both NASA’s Artemis campaign and commercial interests, further advancing human presence on the Moon.

Featured image: Intuitive Machines’ Moon RACER global team comprises AVL, Boeing, Michelin, and Northrop Grumman. Credit: Intuitive Machines

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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