- Satellite Evolution
Teledyne, Sierra Space and Nissan designing next-generation Lunar terrain vehicle for NASA
Teledyne Brown Engineering announced today, at the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO, that it is leading a team including partners Sierra Space and Nissan North America, to design the crewed Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) that will support future exploration on the moon.
With almost seven decades of space hardware design and development experience, Teledyne Brown Engineering will lead the effort providing program management, engineering, manufacturing, integration, operations, and the power system. The company recently designed, built, and delivered the first of 3 Launch Vehicle Stage Adapters of NASA’s Artemis Vehicle, scheduled for initial launch early this summer. In addition, Teledyne Brown Engineering’s continuous efforts to propel technology in space resulted in the design, build and operation of the Multi User Sensor for Earth Sensing platform, one of the first commercial initiatives using the International Space Station. As the Prime Contractor, Teledyne has performed Payload Operations and Integration work for NASA for over 40 years for Space Shuttle missions and for International Space Station payloads. Teledyne also provided power systems for the Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers, currently operating on Mars.
“Teledyne Brown Engineering built the first lunar rover prototype for Dr. Wernher von Braun in the 1960’s and we have subsequently supported almost every major U.S. human rated space mission,” stated Reggie Spivey, Vice President of the company’s Space Systems Group. “We are proud to continue our extensive presence in space and are excited at the possibility of transporting the first woman and person of color on the surface of the moon.”
Sierra Space, with a strong record in space advancements, will provide flight software, space qualified mechanisms, communications, pointing, navigation, and timing for the LTV. Their Dream Chaser® vehicle, which will perform cargo supply and return missions for NASA to and from the International Space Station, is just a part of their robust portfolio, which also includes the LIFE™ (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat used to support astronauts and science experiments in space.
“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 – including our Dream Chaser spaceplane for cargo resupply at the International Space Station – and this LTV team is ready to answer the call as the agency extends that commercial model to astronaut transportation on the lunar surface.”
Nissan North America, Inc., brings to the team a legacy in automotive design, innovation, and capability. The automaker offers deep knowledge into autonomous driving and intelligent vehicle systems as a cornerstone for safer, seamless and more integrated technology as it empowers the future of mobility. With four U.S. manufacturing facilities capable of producing 1 million vehicles, 1.4 million engines, 1.4 million forgings and 456,000 castings annually, Nissan remains committed to investing, manufacturing and creating jobs in America as it employees more than 20,000 individuals at facilities around the US.
“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, Calif. “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.”
Textron Specialized Vehicles brings their Arctic Cat Off Road capabilities for chassis design, vehicle dynamics and suspension handling to the team. Arctic Cat possesses a rich history of innovative vehicle performance and precision engineering. Other strategic teammates include Relative Dynamics with space communications system experience; and QSTC (formerly AQST) with communication, wheel, and traction control capabilities to round out the Teledyne Team.
“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.”