this is the successor of the mythical Astrovan

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On most of NASA’s manned missions, astronauts waved, smiled, and climbed into the Astrovan, which carried them to the launch pad. But the use of that mythical silver van came to an end 11 years ago with the culmination of the Space Shuttle Program. Now that the US agency is preparing the return of humans to the Moon with the Artemis Program, will use a new vehicle to transport astronauts.

The fleet that will replace the Astrovan is made up of three electric vans designed by Canoo, an American mobility startup founded in 2019 by a former Deutsche Bank CEO and a former BMW executive. The model chosen by NASA is based on the Lifestyle Vehicle (LV), the first vehicle of this new manufacturer that has not yet started to be sold. It is currently available for pre-order and is scheduled for release later this year.

Canoo displays its cars at the Kennedy Space Center

This week, NASA hosted the Canoo team at the Kennedy Space Center. The technicians of the agency’s Earth Systems Exploration, the program in charge of the support infrastructure for the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion capsule, put on the traditional orange suits and drove the cars in the vicinity of the complex to make various tests, remember that these must meet a series of strict requirements of the agency.

Cano Nasa Artemis 6

Cano Nasa Artemis 1

The contract between NASA and Canoo states that the cars must be fully electric with a guaranteed range of 80 kilometers, although the distance between the astronaut accommodation building and launch pad 39B is 15 kilometers. Also, one must have eight seats and enough space to carry four fully equipped crew membersfive bags of equipment and other requirements that have not transpired.

Cano Nasa Artemis 5

Cano Nasa Artemis 2

As we can see in the images, the exterior design of the new car is shaped like a capsule. It also has the logos of NASA, the Artemis Program and the United States flag. However, we do not know if this will be the final design of the car. For example, him Tesla Model X that SpaceX and the US space agency use to transport the astronauts they take to the ISS doesn’t seem to have too many exterior changes beyond the logos.

NASA has already found the two companies that will develop and manufacture its new space suits: this is how they will be

The truth is that we will have to wait a little longer to see these cars in action. Canoo will deliver the fleet to NASA in mid-2023. From then on, the US space agency will begin to use them in operations prior to the first manned launch. For example, in general tests of the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule and in personnel training. However, the debut of these cars will occur with Artemis II, a mission scheduled for 2024.

The Astrovan was a 1983 Airstream Excella modified to transport NASA astronauts. Used since Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-9 (1986) until the end of the program with the mission STS-135 of the Atlantis (2011). The vehicle became a symbol of the space agency, with some astronauts balking at the idea of ​​upgrading to a newer model to preserve the tradition of the 9-minute ride to the launch pad.

astrovan

astrovan

Images | Canoe | POT

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On most of NASA’s manned missions, astronauts waved, smiled, and climbed into the Astrovan, which carried them to the launch…

On most of NASA’s manned missions, astronauts waved, smiled, and climbed into the Astrovan, which carried them to the launch…

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