Milford, Mich. , General Motors And Lockheed Martin said Thursday they plan to design a range of vehicles to the Moon for commercial space missions and services powered by the automaker’s electric vehicle battery technology.
The companies said they plan to test the batteries in space later this year, with the goal of their first vehicle using batteries on the Moon in 2025. In addition to potential NASA bids, they hope to strike deals with private companies such as heroine Founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“The interest around the world is tremendous,” said Derek Hodgins, Lockheed Martin’s director of product strategy and sales for lunar infrastructure services, during a joint event at the GM Proving Ground here.
The announcement marks the latest expansion for GM’s Altium technologies, including batteries, outside the auto market. The automaker has also announced a partnership to use or test technologies in electric motors. for trainsboats and other industries.
GM and Lockheed last year’s announcement A partnership to develop a lunar rover using its Altium vehicle platform and batteries for NASA, which is assessing projects following a bid for its upcoming Artemis mission to the Moon.
The companies say their experience developing lunar rovers for NASA is being used to develop other types of vehicles for space missions and services such as data and soil collection.
The Lunar Mobility Vehicle for commercial use is being developed at GM’s test laboratory into a multimillion-dollar simulator that simulates the Moon’s surface and atmosphere, including changes in gravity. GM was the first major subcontractor to help Boeing build vehicles similar to those used during the three Apollo missions to the Moon.
The new vehicle is being designed to be more technologically advanced, powerful and to last at least 10 years on the Moon. Its top speed, for example, would be 12 mph, compared to 7 mph for Apollo-era vehicles. It is also designed to operate autonomously when not in use by astronauts.
“This ain’t no dune buggy,” Hodgins said. “These are tools that weren’t available in the late ’60s.”
According to Hodgins, Lockheed Martin is already in talks with potential customers for lunar rover vehicles. He declined to disclose which companies are involved in the discussions.
GM also said Thursday it is drawing on its experiences developing the Hummer EV for systems control, battery management and torque management to control propulsion. for the new lunar rover program.
“It’s the dust of the Moon, but there are also craters, rocks and other things that you’re going to have to navigate,” Drew Mitchell, Hummer’s vehicle dynamics performance engineer, said Thursday.
The project remains in development. However, officials said they expect to move into the “execution phase” soon.