Defense and aerospace company Northrop Grumman will work alongside some of its partners to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) for NASA, the company has announced. The rover will be used to shuttle NASA’s astronauts across the Moon’s surface as part of a future crewed Artemis mission. Multiple other companies will fulfill their own parts of the project, including Michelin, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and AVL.
Image: Northrup Grumman
NASA plans to return humans to the Moon under its Artemis program, but it’ll need a way for its astronauts to navigate the lunar surface once they arrive. Northrop has announced that it’ll work with the aforementioned companies to develop an LTV with a number of capabilities, not the least of which is agility and a low cost, relatively speaking.
Northrop says it will collaborate with NASA Apollo-era astronauts Charles Duke and Dr. Harrison Schmitt for input on how to design the Artemis rover based on their experiences. In addition, the aerospace company has released a concept image showing what the Artemis LTV may look like alongside a video introducing the team behind the project.
The partner companies, meanwhile, each have their own roles in this project. Lunar Outpost, for example, will contribute its thermal and dust mitigation knowledge, while Michelin will — as you’d expect — focus on designing the airless tires that’ll be used with the future Lunar Terrain Vehicle.
NASA is leveraging commercial companies to develop a variety of technologies and innovations for its Artemis program, something that helps the agency cut costs and speed up the rate of development. The LTVs designed for Artemis will feature next-generation technologies, building upon the best parts of the rovers used during the Apollo missions while offering the capabilities needed for modern lunar exploration.
Northrop’s LTV project seems to be in the very early stages at this time; aside from the concept render, the company hasn’t provided any sort of specifics on the future vehicle. While each of the four partner companies will utilize their respective expertise in various technologies, Northrop will be the primary contractor covering everything from systems integrations to training.