Lockheed, GM team on next-gen lunar rover

May 27, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Lockheed, GM team on next-gen lunar rover
Aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin and automaker General Motors have announced that they are teaming up to develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts on the surface of the Moon.

The new generation of lunar rovers under development, say the companies, could be used by NASA Artemis astronauts - who will explore and conduct scientific experiments using a variety of rovers - to extend and enhance the exploration of the surface of the Moon. NASA sought industry approaches to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) that will enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface farther than ever before.

The LTV is the first of many types of surface mobility vehicles needed for NASA's Artemis program. To support NASA's mission, say the companies, they will develop a unique vehicle with innovative capabilities, drawing on their unparalleled engineering, performance, technology and reliability legacies. The result may allow astronauts to explore the lunar surface in unprecedented fashion and support discovery in places where humans have never gone before.

Lockheed Martin will lead the team by leveraging its more than 50-year-history of working with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecraft.

"This alliance brings together powerhouse innovation from both companies to make a transformative class of vehicles," says Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, 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."

GM, for its part, says it will use autonomous technology to facilitate safer and more efficient operations on the Moon.

"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," says Alan Wexler, senior vice president of Innovation and Growth at General Motors. "Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again."

Previously the automaker manufactured, tested and integrated the inertial guidance and navigation systems

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