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Electric truck company Canoo has begun testing for the Crew Transport Vehicles it is developing for NASA’s upcoming Artemis Moon mission.
The American startup in April won a $147,855 contract to provide the vehicles to the program, which requires that they be delivered by June 2023.
Canoo recently took three vans, appropriately painted red, white and blue, to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for some preliminary evaluations.
The contract calls for street legal vehicle with the capacity for one driver, four suited-up flight crew members, and three additional staff, plus six equipment bags, cooling units, and two cubic feet per passenger for miscellany. At least two large doors for entry/egress and emergency exit are needed, and it has to use a zero-emissions powertrain.
Canoo is working on several consumer and commercial models it plans to begin producing at its Oklahoma factory next year.
The Lifestyle Vehicle used at the test is advertised with a starting price of $34,750 and a range of 250 miles per charge.
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Technicians from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems wore flight suits to see how they might fit inside the vans, which were not significantly modified.
NASA is officially targeting a 2025 date for a manned landing on the Moon, but NASA Inspector General Paul Martin indicated in March that it will likely slip to 2026.
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Electric vehicles are becoming the norm as crew vehicles in U.S. space programs, with SpaceX utilizing the Tesla Model X and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin using vehicles from Rivian, in which Amazon is a major investor.
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During its first quarter earnings call, Canoo noted doubt about its ability to “continue as a going concern” amid low cash reserves, but NASA told Fox News Autos, “NASA looks forward to delivery of the vehicles in 2023 in time for Artemis II.”