General Motors will team up with Lockheed Martin to develop the next-generation of lunar vehicles, which will be used to transport astronauts on the surface of the Moon and enable them to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.
In a press release sent out this week, the two companies revealed they will work together to develop a new Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) for the NASA Artemis program. GM and Lockheed Martin say the next-gen LTV will “allow astronauts to explore the lunar surface in unprecedented fashion and support discovery in places where humans have never gone before.” Unlike the Apollo rovers, which only travelled 4.7 miles from the moon landing site, the next-gen LTV will traverse significantly farther distances and allow astronauts to explore the moon’s south pole, which is cold, dark and has much more rugged terrrain.
GM helped develop the original Apollo lunar rover that was used during the 1969 moon landing, lending its expertise to the vehicle’s chassis and wheels. This time around, GM will offer its extensive battery-electric vehicle knowledge to the lunar rover program. It will also help develop a fully autonomous driving system for the rover, allowing the vehicle to automatically prepare for human landings, provide commercial payload services and enhance the range and utility of scientific payloads and experiments.
“General Motors made history by applying advanced technologies and engineering to support the Lunar Rover Vehicle that the Apollo 15 astronauts drove on the Moon,” said GM’s senior vice president of Innovation and Growth, Alan Wexler. “Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again.”
“This alliance brings together powerhouse innovation from both companies to make a transformative class of vehicles,” added Lockheed Martin Space vice president, Rick Ambrose. “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.”
The NASA Artemis program hopes to land human astronauts on the moon’s south pole by the mid-2020s.