New AstroVan: NASA Seeks Input from Potential Partners on Next Generation Astromobile

by 9SIX

For decades, NASA has used mostly modified motorhomes to transport astronauts to the launch pad. Now, NASA is requesting proposals for the Agency’s next Astrovan.

NASA used the Airstream Excella from STS-9 through STS-135 as their Astronaut Transfer Van. SpaceX makes use of Model X vehicles to carry Astronauts to the launch pad while Boeing has partnered with Airstream for the “Astrovan II” that will carry astronauts to the Boeing Starliner before launch.

NASA is seeking a vehicle to carry astronauts to pad 39B for Artemis missions.

When astronauts journey to the Moon aboard the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket beginning with the Artemis II mission, they will travel by more traditional ground transport as they head to the launch pad to board their spacecraft. NASA is seeking input from industry through a Request for Information on the opportunity for private companies to work with NASA and either provide a new vehicle to serve as the Artemis crew transportation vehicle or refurbish one of NASA’s heritage vehicles to carry intrepid explorers to the launch pad ahead of their mission.

NASA is seeking a partner to build upon its heritage while modernizing for a new generation. Since 1984, each shuttle crew traveled the nine-mile stretch of road from astronaut crew quarters to the launch pad, aboard the Astrovan. The sight of the Astrovan’s gleaming silver exterior and bold NASA emblem evoked pride and excitement in those who watched it wind toward the launch pad.

The proposals should be unique, embrace new technology, and visually embody Artemis to the public. The vehicle will need to seat eight, including four fully suited crewmembers. Through this partnership, the agency will engage the Artemis generation from ride-out to touch-down, while inspiring the next wave of explorers.

With Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface and establish long-term exploration at the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars. SLS and Orion, along with the commercial human landing system and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration.

Responses are due Friday, Oct. 22. To find out more about how you can help in this Artemis crew transportation effort, go to:

Source: spaceexplored

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