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GM Partner with Lockheed Martin to Create New Lunar Rover
GM and Lockheed Martin are combining their collective brains and brawn to create a new autonomous Moon Rover buggy design. These innovative moon buggies are transformative models with characteristics and highlights of the legacies of superior engineering from both companies.
A Unique Collaborative Effort for Success
As a global leader in automotive design, production, and technology, GM is the ideal partner for Lockheed Martin for this unique collaboration. Lockheed’s leading status in the production of world-renowned spacecraft is unrivaled. These two companies are the ideal fit for partnering to design a dynamic moon-based mobility system of electric vehicles.
Kirk Shireman, Lockheed's vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns, will lead this joint effort. He will do so with leverage from Lockheed Martin’s celebrated history of working with NASA. According to Jeff Ryder, GM Defense unit's Vice President of Growth & Strategy, Lockheed and GM complement one another very well. The interaction of these two industry giants creates a powerhouse of innovative strategies and designs for this vital and fascinating project.
Plans and Strategies for Building the New Tech-Advanced Lunar Rover Buggy
GM and Lockheed Martin are focused on building an advanced electric vehicle that is cost-effective and surpasses the buyer’s requirements. They intend to create this EV quickly with the use of the latest digital tools. They will fine-tune and expand their experiences with previous programs throughout this project
Major Contributions from GM
GM has years of experience designing and building vehicles for on and off-road use. Their engineers and designers have consistently produced models structured for top-quality performance and safety.
This acclaimed automotive manufacturer also produces electric vehicle models that exhibit the company’s optimal quality battery-electric technologies. GM’s comprehensive EV strategies also include advanced propulsion systems. Predictions are that new developments in the battery and power systems of the new lunar rover buggy are likely to advance EV developments here on planet Earth as well.
Obviously, both the moon and Mars lack structured roads. Subsequently, successfully building electric vehicle models for use in these environments will positively impact versatile Earth-based EV designs. Safer and higher-quality batteries will soon be designed for use here on our own planet.
Innovative Input from Lockheed Martin
Lockheed’s primary contribution to this technologically advanced project is ensuring a future for the U.S. and for humankind in space. Time spent by astronauts on the moon’s surface during the Artemis mission will be focused on high degrees of scientific value. The objective is to maximize the benefit of having humans return to the lunar surface.
Scientific data collected during the Artemis mission will enable NASA to gain a greater understanding of the potentially valuable resources at the moon’s south pole. The plan for this project is to create an Artemis Base Camp concept and reality before 2030.
Features of the Original 1960s Moon Rover Buggy from GM and Boeing
Lockheed officials report numerous technological advancements over the past 50 years that affected the Moon Rover buggy design. These updates and improvements have enabled engineers to include autonomy capabilities in the latest lunar buggy models. Autonomy makes it possible for these vehicles to transport samples and tools.
It also enables space-travel crews to accomplish more while they are on the moon’s surface. More scientific work that moon surface mobility can support includes field geology, collection of samples, and initiation of experiments.
Yet the original 1960s Moon Rover buggy that was produced by GM and Boeing also had important properties and components. The major features of these lunar rover vehicles (LRVs) included the following:
• Motor. The original Moon Rover buggy had four brushed DC motors with approximately 0.25 hp. The usual speed of the LRV was 12.88 kph. However, the astronaut Eugene Cernan pushed an electric vehicle to reach 17.70 kph as a member of the Apollo 17 mission.
• Power. This early lunar rover was powered by two 36-volt, 4.4-kWh silver-zinc batteries. These batteries had a parallel connection that produced a total capacity of 8.8 kWh. Although this was a much less sophisticated powering method than our current-day Lithium batteries, the lunar buggy could travel up to 80.47 kilometers per full charge.
During the Apollo 15 and 16 missions, the buggies were restricted to traveling 16.09 kilometers in one direction for safety reasons. The total first drive of Apollo 15 equaled just 27.76 kilometers. Yet during Apollo 17, the LRV traveled a distance of 35.89 kilometers, including a one-way distance of 20.12 kilometers.
Next-Generation Lunar Rover Vehicles
The new lunar buggies display huge jumps in technological advancements since the Apollo 17 mission. GM experts have revealed that these updated lunar rovers are designed and built to travel farther than their predecessors. They must be equipped to support the initial excursions to the moon’s south pole.
These latest LRV models also required additional structural improvements and updated technology. This is because it is quite dark at the moon’s south pole. As a result, temperatures are significantly colder, and the terrain is much more rugged than the conditions encountered by the Apollo mission.
The Ultrium technologies from GM that are currently available are designed to help provide the battery packs and performance that the latest lunar rovers require. Also, the autonomous properties of these tech-advanced moon buggies will enable them to launch ahead of touch-down by human crews. This feature helps facilitate commercial payload activities. It also improves the range and use of any scientific payloads or experiments.
The new autonomous Moon Rover buggy design created through the collaboration of GM and Lockheed Martin reveals their outstanding corporate legacies. It also exhibits the many industry-leading structural and technological highlights that both companies have achieved throughout their histories.
This innovative and unique new autonomous moon buggy design can travel farther than the earlier models. Its autonomous feature enables this tech-advanced lunar vehicle to launch before human spacecraft crews land on the moon. The next-generation lunar buggies are powered by ultimate quality battery-electric technologies.
These advanced-design electric vehicles also offer updated propulsion systems. Innovative developments in the battery and power systems of these latest lunar rover buggies are expected to advance EV improvements here on our planet Earth as well.