NASA selects Canoo to build ground transportation for its next lunar mission

Public relations opportunities are no better than this. American electric vehicle maker Canoo has been given the honor of transporting astronauts, support staff and equipment for NASA’s upcoming Artemis Lunar mission as they drive 22 minutes of operations to the launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Canoo will provide NASA with multiple transport vehicles for the crew, thus contributing to humanity’s first visit to the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

Design Brief
Canoo’s specially modified LVs (Lifestyle Vehicles) will need to make room for a crew of well-suited astronauts, support staff, and any equipment they need to bring with them that isn’t already on the rocket. The LV suits this purpose well, as its modular design with under-floor mechanics maximize interior space and utility while maintaining a relatively compact footprint.

The platform supports a range of body styles that Canoo calls “interchangeable top hats” and will be the shape of the minivan that transports the crew to the launch pad. Canoo says there are more than 160 patents across components in the platform and that it is built for the future with built-in iterations and proprietary software optimization delivered through over-the-air updates.

Canoo’s high-profile contract press release notes that the platform takes inspiration from spacecraft engineering by creating a product with just a few components to make service and future upgrades less costly over its lifespan.

Interior view of Canoo LV with rectangular steering wheel.

Artemis Wan
Mission objectives are so lofty that humans not only visit the Moon but establish a long-term human and robotic presence on and around the surface. Once this is achieved, the plan is to use the Moon to prepare for future manned missions to Mars, which is located about 240,000 miles from the base. Artemis will land the first woman and person of color on the moon, taking her name from the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. It is fitting that Artemis is the goddess of hunting, the wilderness, and the moon with humanity’s last visit to the lunar surface bearing the name of her twin.

Artist rendering showing astronauts performing missions on the Moon.
Here to stay: NASA’s Artemis Lunar Mission aims to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon.

Airstream Astrovan
Choosing a job like this is a godsend for Canoo and the bond the brand will get from being connected to the mission will work wonders for it. Canoo’s custom LV vehicles will join other vehicles that have become legends from their association with NASA like the one pictured below. It’s a 1983 Airstream Exela made for purpose and for so many gear heads, its sleek silver hull and NASA logos are instantly recognizable like the rockets carrying astronauts into space. It became known as Astrovan, although it is unclear if Canoo’s LVs will bear the same name.

Image showing the Exlay RV air stream that became known as Astrophane.

“We are honored to take the Artemis crew to the launch site for the first human moon landing in over 50 years. The choice of our innovative technologies by NASA to take a diverse team of American astronauts to the Moon shows a great commitment to sustainable transportation. As a high-tech mobility company, we are inspired From the pioneering and pioneering spirit of NASA Our custom vehicles are upgradable throughout their lifecycle with a high level of end-of-life recyclability Canoo’s Made in America electric vehicles exemplify our nation’s ingenuity and bold determination to reclaim global technology leadership for America and allied countries We are proud to be a partner NASA is in one of the world’s greatest endeavors.” – Canoo Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila

Canoo plans to start production in late 2022 with NASA LVs scheduled for June 2023. The company is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas where it also operates an advanced manufacturing site. Pryor, Oklahoma was chosen as the site for the first “Major Small Factory” in Kano with a plan to open a number of smaller factories across the country in place of one or two giant Gigafactory complexes.

Images by Canoo and NASA licensed CC BY 2.0.

James Walker is an automotive journalist for Torque News focusing on Lucid Motors. If he has wheels he’s interested, and he’s looking forward to seeing the kind of cars the electric car revolution brings us. Whether it’s fast or slow, new or old, James wants to take a look around and share it in print and in video, ideally with a few quirky ways involved. You can contact James on Twitterand Instagram and LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: