Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Northrop Grumman-led team to design NASA’s next-gen Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Northrop Grumman has partnered with AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Michelin to design and build a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to transport NASA’s Artemis astronauts around the lunar surface. The Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) will be the key to exploring the Antarctic Moon region, an area that has never been visited by humans.

Northrop Grumman will act as the primary contractor, handle systems integration, cargo storage, energy management, avionics, navigation, sensors, controls, mission planning, operations, and training. AVL will bring its expertise in the advancement of battery electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and propulsion solutions to make lunar surface mobility a reality; the Intuitive Machines will provide expertise on landing systems to deliver the rover to the Moon. Meanwhile, Lunar Outpost will adapt dust mitigation and thermal technologies from the development of its MAPP rover to help deliver a robust, cutting-edge LTV solution; and Michelin will design an airless tire – an area in which it has developed expertise in recent years.

The Northrop Grumman-led team will provide NASA with an affordable and sustainable vehicle design that will expand human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface, and ultimately Mars.

In addition to the industrial partners, Northrop Grumman has engaged Apollo astronauts Dr. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt and Charles Duke to incorporate their hands-on experiences into the design for the LTV–allowing the team to optimize the vehicle for the needs of NASA researchers and Artemis astronauts. Duke rode the rover with John Young on 1972’s Apollo 16, and Schmidt was paired with Eugene Cernan for the final Apollo 17 mission.

“Together with our teammates, we will provide NASA with an agile and affordable vehicle design to greatly enhance human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface to further enable a sustainable human presence on the Moon and, ultimately, Mars,” said Steve Krein, vice president, civil and commercial space, tactical space systems division, Northrop Grumman.