Astrobotic awarded NASA study contract for polar mission to the Moon
(18 June 2019 - Astrobotic) Astrobotic announces today it was one of two companies selected by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to study the first payload delivery mission to the South Pole of the Moon.
The mission would deliver NASA payloads to investigate lunar volatile elements such as hydrogen and oxygen, which could one day be used by NASA and the private sector for astronaut life support and in-space rocket fuel.
Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander (pictured top) and Polaris lunar rover (pictured bottom) will carry payloads to the Moon for customers around the world. (courtesy: Astrobotic)
The study contract awarded to Astrobotic will analyze how Astrobotic’s medium lunar lander Griffin, and its workhorse rover Polaris, could deliver volatile-detecting payloads to the lunar South Pole. The mission would also pave the way for NASA’s human lander mission in 2024, and survey the landing site for the first human mission to the Moon since the Apollo program.
“The ability to detect, extract and process Hydrogen and oxygen at the Moon holds great promise for dramatically lowering the cost of living and working in space, and Griffin and Polaris were both designed to pursue exactly these kinds of lunar resource opportunities,” said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. “Griffin and Polaris are years in the making, and both are complementary to the cislunar service capabilities our Peregrine lunar lander will demonstrate when it flies in 2021. As a result of our product-line approach to lunar logistics, these three vehicles share common parts, components, and design philosophies. When Peregrine flies in 2021, many of our approaches and hardware will be validated for Griffin and Polaris,” he said.
Griffin is a lunar lander product line that will carry 400 kg of uncrewed payload to the Moon. With Griffin’s robust delivery capacity, the lunar surface is open to companies, governments, universities, and individuals for next-generation lunar surface activities. Polaris is a commercial “pick-up” truck for the Moon, capable of hosting 90 kg of mobile lunar surface payload for numerous mission types including resource prospecting, in-situ resource utilization, sample return, fuel production, technology demonstration, long distance traverse, and marsupial supported missions.
With this NASA study in place and 29 payload deals from 8 countries signed for Peregrine Mission One, Astrobotic is making the Moon accessible to the world with end-to-end delivery services and industry-leading space robotics.
Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is a space robotics company that seeks to make space accessible to the world. The company’s lunar lander, Peregrine, delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals for $1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic was selected by NASA in May 2019 for a $79.5 million contract to deliver payloads to the Moon in 2021. The company also has more than 30 prior and ongoing NASA and commercial technology contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, a corporate sponsorship with DHL, and 29 payloads signed on for Peregrine’s first mission to the Moon. The company is also an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST Program. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.