NASA is looking for a successor to the Astrovan

NASA Astrovan auf Asphaltfläche

© NASA

Science

The legendary transporter for astronauts on the way to the launch pad is to be replaced or renewed with an electric drive.

From 1984 onwards, a converted caravan accompanied every space shuttle crew to the launch pad: the Astrovan . The legendary transporter is to be renewed in the course of the upcoming Artemis missions of NASA. The space agency has therefore issued a

tender for a successor

published.

Space for 8 people

As Ars Technica reports , the official name for the vehicle is “Artemis Crew Transportation Vehicle “. According to the tender, there should be space for a driver, a spacesuit technician, a flight director, a security and 4 astronauts Offer. In addition, a lot of equipment, such as helmets, has to fit in and the doors have to be wide enough for space travelers and their suits to fit comfortably through.

Innenraum des NASA Astrovan

Innenraum des NASA Astrovan

Interior of NASA Astrovan

© NASA

Emission-free

It is also important that the Astrovan successor in operation has no greenhouse gas emissions generated. So it can be either an electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell vehicle. The new crew transporter can either be a completely individual vehicle, a converted, commercially available vehicle or it can be a conversion of the existing Astrovan. In any case, the vehicle should be ready by June 2023 .

Competition for Model X

As Ars Technica describes, the NASA to return to the moon with its Artemis missions. A capsule design like the one used in the 1960s will be used, and the SLS rocket will also contain engines from the space shuttle era. The logical choice for the crew transporter would be the retro option . For the missions with the SpaceX Crew Dragon space capsule, Tesla Model X used as a crew transporter.

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