NASA gets 3 electric vans to shuttle Artemis crew to launchpad

They also provided insight from the conceptual phase throughout production. 

Washington: NASA has received three fully electric and environment friendly crew transportation vans that will take Artemis crews on the final Earth-bound leg of their journey to the Moon before boarding their rocket and spacecraft.

The zero-emission vehicles, developed by California-based Canoo Technologies as part of a contract awarded by NASA in April 2022, were delivered to the space agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, it said in a statement. 

The vehicles can carry four astronauts in their Orion crew survival system spacesuits, support personnel including a spacesuit technician, and provides room for specialised equipment for the drive to Launch Pad 39B ahead of Artemis missions to the Moon.

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The vehicles were designed, from the interior and exterior markings to the colour of the vehicles to the wheel wells, by a creative team that included the Artemis launch director and representatives from NASA’s Astronaut Office based at Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

They also provided insight from the conceptual phase throughout production. 

“The collaboration between Canoo and our NASA representatives focused on the crews’ safety and comfort on the way to the pad ahead of their journey to the Moon,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA’s Artemis launch director, in the statement. 

“I have no doubt everyone who sees these new vehicles will feel the same sense of pride I have for this next endeavour of crewed Artemis missions,” Blackwell-Thompson said.

During NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programmes astrovans were primarily used to transport astronauts from their crew quarters to launch pad at Kennedy’s. 

The new fleet will be used for astronaut training exercises at the spaceport, ahead of Artemis II, the first crewed mission under Artemis that will send four astronauts around the Moon and bring them home.  

The approximately 10-day flight will test NASA’s foundational human deep space exploration capabilities, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for the first time with astronauts and will pave the way for lunar surface missions, including landing the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon.

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