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Lockheed Martin and General Motors partner to design manned lunar rover

Capitalism in space: Lockheed Martin and General Motors announced yesterday that they are partnering to design a manned lunar rover, intended for sale to NASA’s Artemis program as well as any other manned lunar missions anyone else should decide to fly.

Lockheed and GM don’t have a NASA contract to build the LTV [Lunar Terrain Vehicle]; the agency hasn’t awarded any such deals yet. But the companies are positioning themselves to be in the driver’s seat when such decisions are made — and when other customers may come along as well.

Obviously the first customer for this moon buggy would be NASA for Artemis. Nor is this the only manned rover being planned. Toyota and Japan’s space agency JAXA are also partnering to build one.

The decision by NASA to use Starship as its lunar lander however has made such a project much more viable. Unlike the lunar landers proposed by Blue Origin and Dynectics, Starship has the payload capacity to carry such things to the Moon, right off the bat. Thus it makes sense now to start designing them and offering them for sale. We should not be surprised if other car manufacturers start proposing their own manned rovers.

Moreover, Starship’s potential also means these rovers could be purchased by others for work on the Moon. If anyone besides NASA decides to hire SpaceX and Starship for their own lunar missions, the Lockheed Martin/GM LTV can also be sold to them. So can the Toyota rover. So could one built by Ford or Mazarati.

Isn’t freedom and capitalism wonderful? Instead of a half century of the nothing that international cooperation and government control brought us in space, private enterprise is suddenly in a burst opening the entire solar system to the world. And don’t expect the pace to slow.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

7 comments

  • Max

    According to this artist concept, is not far from what SpaceX is planning. (No evidence)
    https://electrek.co/2020/06/06/tesla-cybertruck-modified-lunar-vehicle/

    Apparently the Germans had a concept built back in 2016. Arrange to fly to the moon on a falcon 9.
    https://electrek.co/2016/11/30/auds-all-electric-vehicle-moon-rover-spacex-falcon-9/

    There’s been a lot of changes the battery technology. Graphing batteries, glass batteries, and now aluminum batteries which are much lighter, hold a larger charge, and charges fast… almost like a capacitor.
    Article:
    EV Range Breakthrough As New Aluminum-Ion Battery Charges 60 Times Faster Than Lithium-Ion

    https://flip.it/WEAGFw

    Lots of claims, few products. I’ll cross my fingers and hope this one is real. It’ll actually make electric cars more than 25% efficient. Charging stations could be embedded in the road.
    Aluminum is a common element, that’ll be cheaper to ship to space… It could be also be manufactured off world?

  • Mark

    I wish the engineers on this project success, but I am worried about Lockheed’s management after reading this headline in the Daily Mail – “ Lockheed Martin forced top execs including a three-star general to complete three-day Zoom course to ‘unlearn their white male privilege’”.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9625609/Lockheed-Martin-defense-execs-Zoom-course-unlearn-white-male-privilege.html

  • “white male privilege” = “competitive advantage”. Biology isn’t interested in ‘playing nice’; biology is interested in out-competing other biology. I would say ‘you compete’, not ‘I’ll voluntarily reduce my ability”.

  • Jeff Wright

    D-Day shows what gov’t CAN do…if it wants too.

    Since Apollo-spaceflight starved. Bill Gates could have done something like SpaceX-but didn’t. Musk is Korolev. He has a forceful personality.
    LockMart already lost their vitality when Kelly Johnson passed-so I’m suprised the CRT folk bothered to show up-because corporate profit-seekers gelded LockMart long before the woke crowd was even born. NASA had the passion but no money. Wall Street-that libertarians defend no matter what evil they do-have money…but no passion-no soul. Musk has both. He is truly an endangered species.

    If I were driving down the road and had a blow-out….and had to either swerve into Elon on one side—or a short bus?

    Sorry, Corky….but you’re eating the engine block today.

  • Chris Lopes

    It sounds like everyone expects humans (in enough numbers to open a car dealership) to return to the Moon soon. That’s not something I expected to see in my lifetime, but it does seem to be happening anyway. It’s an interesting time to be alive.

  • Max

    When people were speculating about what musk might do for a lunar rover, he tease them with this tweet 3 years ago.

    Cyborg Dragon Tesla almost done
    5:24 PM · Jun 24, 2018

    Apparently he has his own ideas that is thinking about or will unveil at the proper time.

  • pzatchok

    I would just use a modified 4 person dune buggy as a model starting point.

    Instead of a steel tube frame just use aluminum.
    Keep the high ground clearance ability.
    Keep the roll cage for safety.
    Turn it to electric two wheel drive.
    Use the old lunar rover design for the wheels.

    And keep it simple.

    The only problem i can see is recharging. It will take a very large solar system to do it inside 24 hours.

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