Spacebit, a UK-based space startup that is sending the First UK Mission to the Moon in 2021, has secured a second lunar delivery mission in support of NASA’s Artemis program. The company now has two consecutive NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) delivery missions to the Moon.
According to the company announcement, it will do its second ride to the Moon on the Nova-C lander that the Houston-based Intuitive Machines is planning to send in Q4 2021 as part of NASA’s CLPS program. Intuitive Machines was awarded a NASA CLPS contract in 2019 and will launch its Nova-C lander on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, in support of NASA’s Artemis program.
Spacebit is developing micro-rover technologies and rover deployment systems to be able to carry a NASA standard-sized payload in support of the Artemis Program space exploration and research goals. It has developed the World’s First-ever Moon-Walking Rover ‘Asagumo’ and marked as the UK’s First mission to the Moon.
The 4-legged micro rover can adapt to and function in challenging spaces, in and around the lunar surface, specifically lunar lava tubes. The device, moving on legs, will explore the Earth’s satellite and transmit information to humans. This will be the first lunar rover outside our planet to use its feet, allowing the work to move in places where it is difficult to drive on wheels.
The current landing schedule for Asagumo (Mission 1) is Q3 2021 onboard the first of several NASA CLPS commercial moon delivery assignments to advance Artemis, while the schedule for the Spacebit wheeled rover (Mission 2) is in Q4 2021 onboard the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander.
“We are very pleased to secure the second mission in 2021 for Spacebit with Intuitive Machines. By having a multi NASA CLPS mission delivery strategy, we will have higher chances of landing on the Moon and conducting robotic prospecting and characterization of resources available in the lunar regolith – one of Spacebit’s key focus areas,” said the company in a statement.
“Intuitive Machines was founded to support both government and commercial lunar surface transportation needs and provide responsive and affordable access to the Moon for innovative commercial enterprises such as Spacebit. The micro-robotic technologies that Spacebit is developing and demonstrating on our CLPS flight next year will be a valuable addition to the suite of tools needed for commercial lunar development.” Trent Martin, VP of Space Services, Intuitive Machines.