Nissan Will Help Design The New Lunar Rover For NASA Missions
Nissan is going to work together with Sierra Space and Teledyne Brown Engineering to design a crewed Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to support future exploration of the Moon.
Nissan North America will provide production capabilities, its automotive design expertise, and its autonomous driving and intelligent vehicle systems since the Moon lander will need to be self-driving.
“Participation in this project allows for the extension of our industry’s technology and design capabilities to space technology, and vice versa,” said Maarten Sierhuis, Alliance Global Director of Nissan’s Alliance Innovation Laboratory in Silicon Valley, California. “With this partnership, we will explore possibilities of autonomy and teleoperations, power management systems, vehicle connectivity, and human-machine interface to help shape the future of intelligent lunar rovers. We then will translate these learnings from the LTV operating on the lunar surface back to earth.”
Teledyne and Sierra Space have years of experience in extraterrestrial exploration. The former built the first lunar rover prototype in the 1960s and has performed Payload Operations and Integration work for NASA for more than 40 years. It will lead the team and provide program management, engineering, manufacturing, integration, operations, and the power system for the vehicle.
Sierra Space has a history of advancements in this field and it will provide the flight software, space-qualified mechanisms, communications, pointing, navigation, and timing for the LTV.
“Sierra Space is firmly situated at the forefront of developing the new space economy and the commercialization of space, and this team has all of the right ingredients to design the definitive Lunar Terrain Vehicle for Artemis astronauts on the Moon,” said Steve Lindsey, five-time astronaut and Chief Strategy Officer, Sierra Space. “NASA has already developed a commercial partnership model for crew and cargo transport services in low Earth orbit […] and this LTV team is ready to answer the call as the agency extends that commercial model to astronaut transportation on the lunar surface.”
Finally, Textron Specialized Vehicles, whose Arctic Cat has a background in the exploration of some of the Earth’s most inhospitable areas, will provide the chassis design, vehicle dynamics, and suspension handling.
“We feel that we have created a dynamic, cutting edge, and proven team for this effort,” stated Scott Hall, President of Teledyne Brown Engineering. “Together this team will deliver a rugged, versatile, and intuitive vehicle to support our future in space.”