Canoo, known for making electric vehicles (EVs) in recent years, has landed a rather significant contract: they will be responsible for constructing vehicles for NASA to transport astronauts from the base to the rocket ships. Canoo may have only been around since 2017, and not always under their current name, but they’re certainly not thinking small.
These transport vehicles are the first step in a much bigger project that involves returning humans to the moon and possibly sending them to Mars. Read on to find out not only more about Canoo’s hand in constructing vehicles for NASA, but also what other companies and vehicles are involved in this collaborative endeavor.
The vehicle is based on the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle but gets a few modifications to transport astronauts to their space shuttles. While their vehicles might look bizarre on the roads, it slides in perfectly to match the space travel vibes. We can even imagine these vehicles being used on the moon!
Canoo has made a few new transport vehicles specifically for NASA to help its astronauts get to their ride to the moon.
Canoo Modified For NASA Use
These vehicles Canoo made for NASA were based on the templates Canoo uses for its civilian vehicles. However, they had to be specifically modified as per NASA’s request. The request was rather detailed, noting how the Canoo Transport Vehicles needed to be emissions-free, only have a range of 50 miles to accommodate the commute to and from the rocket ship, have cargo space for five equipment bags, four cooling units, and a pad transfer bag, and have passenger room for four fully-equipped astronauts, three additional crew, and a driver.
All of that is oddly specific, but Canoo has pledged completion of the vehicles. These vehicles will be suited for transport from the base to the rocket ship, and they bear the NASA branding. Aside from that, these vehicles are nearly indistinguishable from Canoo’s standard counterparts.
These NASA-modified Canoo vehicles are intended for completion and delivery by June 2023. Of note is that the standard counterparts will arrive in late 2022, a few quarters before the NASA counterparts are due. And while the NASA version has a 50-mile range, the civilian version has a 250-mile range. The starting MSRP will be $34,750 and trim levels include Base, Premium, Adventure, and Delivery.
A Project Artemis Development
Project Artemis is the umbrella initiative that the Canoo development is part of. While Project Artemis is the main driver, a lot of the details have been outsourced. For example, lunar lander development will be handled through SpaceX, including some initial tests without crews.
Further tests will include crews and demonstrations. NASA specifically selected SpaceX to handle the development and demonstration of a modern lunar lander, though the completion of the whole project, part of which falls to Canoo, will happen no earlier than 2025.
Project Artemis is an initiative that aims to return humans to the moon. As mentioned before, it may take a few years, but NASA has several aspects of the project, such as Canoo’s transport vehicles and SpaceX’s lunar lander, coming together.
Project Artemis also aims to include both women and various ethnicities among the humans returning to the moon. Artemis aims for discovery, research, development, and economic benefits on the moon, and a base camp will be established.
Once the moon missions and long-term established presences prove successful, NASA will begin a similar procedure for sending humans to Mars. Canoo may be the first step in this development, but all of this can’t happen without secure transport from the base to the rocket ships.
Canoo Is Not The Only Lucky Automaker To Work With NASA
Canoo isn’t the only vehicle company involved in this initiative. General Motors also has its name involved in the collaboration. As with SpaceX’s lunar lander, General Motors (GM) and Lockheed Martin are collaborating on a modern lunar rover known as a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) intended to shuttle people across the moon, similar to how Canoo shuttles people across the base. While this lunar rover can self-drive, it’s still in development and what is known can be seen from renderings.
Fittingly enough, GM also helped construct Apollo 15’s Lunar Rover back in 1971, so they are the automaker responsible for the first car used in space. Lockheed Martin is also familiar with NASA, also having experience working with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecrafts throughout the last 50 years. So while the LTV is in development, a lot of the other vehicles are coming closer to completion, and it all starts with the new transport vehicles made by Canoo.
Sources: NASA, Canoo