Luxembourg space tech firm Lunar Outpost has joined Lockheed Martin’s consortium to develop the first crewed lunar rover in more than 50 years.
The consortium will integrate the startup’s COSMOS software for robotic vehicle teleoperation, data management and payload operations into its Lunar Mobility Vehicle (LMV). It will also use Lunar Outpost’s expertise to develop the vehicle’s onboard navigation, advanced thermal management, lighting and dust mitigation technologies to create a safe and efficient vehicle for Artemis astronaut exploration.
“We are excited to support Lockheed Martin’s LMV program with critical rover technologies that will have been demonstrated, tested and operated multiple times on the lunar surface,” Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus said.
The crewed lunar rover will be deployed as part of NASA’s Artemis programme, which will see astronauts return to the Moon in 2025, the first time since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission.
The LMV, which can also be controlled autonomously (without astronauts onboard) will help the mission scout the unexplored South Pole of the Moon, thought to be abundant in water ice and other resources.
Lunar Outpost explained in a press release: “Uncovering these resources would unlock the ability to build and maintain life support mechanisms for a sustained human presence on the Moon and beyond.”
The startup has secured three autonomous lunar rover missions over the coming three years, enabling them to test their technology before the launch of the crewed rover. Among the missions is a deal with NASA to be the first rover to collect and sell space resources.