Providing safe, zero-emission transportation for astronauts on the path to the Moon
On July 11, 2023, a fleet of fully electric, environmentally friendly vehicles designed for NASA‘s Artemis missions were delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These special transportation vehicles will play a crucial role in safely moving astronauts from Earth to their spacecraft, marking the last Earth-bound leg of their journey to the Moon.
“These vehicles represent the dedication and collaboration between Canoo and our NASA team, all focused on ensuring the safety and comfort of our astronauts en route to the launch pad for their lunar mission,”Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA’s Artemis launch director.
Custom design meets the unique needs of Artemis missions
Developed by Canoo Technologies Inc., the zero-emission vehicles were custom-made to accommodate NASA’s unique specifications for the Artemis missions. The vehicles are not only designed to transport astronauts in their Orion crew survival system spacesuits, but they also provide room for support personnel, a spacesuit technician, and specialized equipment needed for the drive to Launch Pad 39B.
Paying homage to the past while looking to the future
The design of the vehicles reflects both the legacy and the future of NASA’s human spaceflight and space exploration efforts. The creative process was a joint effort involving the Artemis launch director and representatives from NASA’s Astronaut Office. This collaboration ensured the final product would meet the practical needs of the missions while also embodying the spirit and history of NASA’s space endeavors.
Replacing the Astrovans: ride to the launch pad that reflects the times
In the past, during launch operations for NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs, the Astrovans were the primary means of transporting astronauts to the launch pad. However, these new vehicles represent a shift in technology and environmental consciousness, mirroring the times.
Training and testing: preparing for Artemis II and beyond
Before the first crewed mission, Artemis II, the fleet will be used for astronaut training exercises at the spaceport. This mission, which will send four astronauts around the Moon and bring them back, is a significant step towards deep space exploration and lunar surface missions, including the monumental event of landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon.
- Manufacturer: Canoo Technologies Inc.
- Type: Fully electric, zero-emission vehicles
- Capacity: Four astronauts in Orion crew survival system spacesuits, support personnel, spacesuit technician
- Additional features: Specialized equipment for the drive to Launch Pad 39B
Towards a greener future in space exploration
As NASA continues to push the boundaries of human space exploration, the introduction of these zero-emission vehicles reflects a wider commitment to environmental stewardship on Earth. With the careful balance of honoring the past and embracing the future, NASA’s Artemis missions are going to make history in more ways than one.