The astrobotic of Pittsburgh, PA, has been chosen to send NASA’s next Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the lunar surface.
The Commercial Lunar Payload Services Initiative will offer NASA a quick addition of commercial Lunar abilities. Such a thing will also allow the space agency’s capability of commercial development and research of the Moon. Here are the latest details.
Astrobotic’s Skills Will Be Soon Proved
VIPER’s upcoming mission, along with other CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) projects, will help NASA with the Artemis Program. The scientific data collected from VIPER will support NASA with choosing the landing sites for the Artemis Moon Program. VIPER will also explore the lunar surface for water.
“VIPER is going to be a big boost to our efforts to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 through the Artemis program,” stated Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s Administrator.
Currently, the mission is being controlled by NASA’s Ames Research Center while the hardware is built and developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The rover software is designed by NASA Ames and the Kennedy Space Center, along with Honeybee Robotics from Altadena, California.
The VIPER contract from NASA offers Astrobotic $199.5 million to send the rover to the South Pole of the Moon. The Astrobotic is responsible for the union of the spacecraft to the Griffin lander, and then from liftoff to landing on the lunar surface.
Once on the Moon’s surface, VIPER will utilize its four science tools and devices to examine the soil as it explores around. VIPER will also realize some drills of 3 feet into the lunar ground, and the early versions of three water identifying tools will fly on other CLPS projects in 2021 and 2022 to help experiment them before VIPER’s liftoff in 2023. The launch vehicle has yet to be chosen by Astrobotic.