Mon. May 27th, 2024

NASA has received three fully electric and eco-friendly crew transport vans that will carry the Artemis crew on the final Earth-phase of their journey to the Moon before boarding their rocket and spacecraft. The zero-emission vehicles, developed by California-based Canoo Technologies as part of a contract awarded by NASA in April 2022, were unveiled at the space agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, it said in a statement.

The vehicles can carry four astronauts in their Orion Crew Survival System spacesuits, support personnel including a spacesuit technician, and provide space for specialized equipment for the drive to Launch Pad 39B ahead of the Artemis mission to the Moon. The vehicles were designed, from interior and exterior markings to vehicle color to wheel wells, by a creative team that included the Artemis launch director and representatives from NASA’s Astronaut Office located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. He also provided insight from the conceptual stage throughout production.

“The collaboration between Canoo and our NASA representatives focused on the safety and comfort of the crew en route to the pad prior to their journey to the Moon,” Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA’s Artemis launch director, said in the statement. “I have no doubt that everyone who views these new vehicles will feel that same sense of pride for this next attempt at a crewed Artemis mission,” Blackwell-Thompson said. During NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, the AstroVan was primarily used to transport astronauts from their crew quarters to the launch pad at Kennedy. The new fleet will be used for astronaut training exercises prior to Artemis II, the first crewed mission under Artemis that will send four astronauts around the Moon and bring them home. The nearly 10-day flight will test NASA’s fundamental human deep space exploration capabilities, Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft with astronauts aboard for the first time and pave the way for lunar surface missions, including the first female and first man to land

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