This is what the NASA vehicle that will carry the astronauts of the Artemis program to the boarding place on the trip to the moon could look like!
Two recent photos released by NASA hint at what the agency’s new all-electric “Crew Transport Vehicle” will look like, the vehicle that will take astronauts to Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center for lunar missions under the Artemis program.
The photos show technicians aboard NASA’s electric Gamma car built by automaker Canoo, which the agency selected in March as its new astronaut transport vehicle builder.
The NASA car that will take over the task of transporting astronauts
“Representatives from Canoo were at the spaceport to showcase their fleet of green vehicles,” NASA wrote in a description of the images.
One of the images shows us an exterior view of the sleek white Gamma machine, decorated with the NASA and Artemis logos. The other shows us two NASA technicians in orange flight suits, sitting in the back seat of the car, describes Space.com.
The company that makes the car is not without problems
While NASA has tapped Canoo to ferry Artemis astronauts to the Space Launch System megarocket before launch, the company is facing some financial challenges.
On May 10, a day before NASA released the images, representatives of Canoo filed a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission stating that these challenges are of “concern” due to financial losses of 125.4 million dollars in the first quarter.
“We believe there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern twelve months after the date of our financial statements,” Canoo wrote in the filing.
What must the car be able to do?
NASA approached Canoo earlier this year to request zero-emission electric vehicles to carry Artemis mission crews starting in 2024 with the Artemis 2 mission.
The requirements are that the car can fit up to 8 people, including 4 astronauts in spacesuits, to transport them to NASA’s launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Gamma vehicles will replace the iconic silver Astrovan vehicles used for decades to ferry NASA astronauts to space shuttle launch sites.
How much is the NASA car?
“The fleet will consist of three vehicles designed to transport fully equipped astronauts, their support team and their equipment on the 15 kilometer stretch from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to the launch pad,” NASA officials said in an April 13 announcement.
“The new transports will be based on the company’s all-electric LV models, customized for NASA’s unique needs,” the agency said.
NASA signed the contract with Canoo on March 31 and will pay $147,855 for the vehicles.