Nissan Announces Lunar Terrain Vehicle Design for NASA Alongside Teledyne and Sierra Space

At the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Teledyne Brown Engineering, with partners Sierra Space and Nissan North America, announced the design of a crewed Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to support future NASA missions to the Moon. The three companies have different levels of experience in space technology and hope to carry astronauts on future missions.

Teledyne Brown Engineering specializes in manufacturing for harsh environments, bringing seven decades of experience in the design and development of space hardware. The company built the original lunar rover prototype for Dr. Wernher von Braun in the 1960s and has contributed in one way or another to almost every major American human space mission since.

This includes Teledyne’s recent contributions to NASA’s Artemis program, having designed, built and delivered the first of three launch vehicle stage adapters for the SLS vehicle, which is scheduled to launch for the first time this summer.

Teledyne partner Sierra Space also has a well-established relationship with NASA, having provided its LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat to support astronauts and science experiments in space. His last vehicle, called Dream Catcherwill perform resupply and return cargo missions for NASA to the International Space Station, and has much more ambitious plans for crewed spaceflight with the vehicle and even a space station.

Finally, Nissan North America, the American subsidiary of the Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Company. While Nissan specializes in cars, it has started to dabble in space transportation technology. Last December, Nissan unveiled an electric lunar prototype co-developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Together, the three companies hope to one day provide Lunar Terrain vehicles to NASA astronauts.

A teaser render of a potential lunar vehicle / Source: Nissan North America

Could NASA astronauts one day drive a Nissan to the moon?

NASA doesn’t seem to have committed to anything yet, but it could happen! According to a recent Press release of Nissan North America, he is working with Sierra Space to develop a lunar terrain vehicle that NASA astronauts can use on lunar missions.

Teledyne Brown Engineering will lead the effort providing program management, engineering, manufacturing, integration, operations and power system. Sierra Space will provide the LTV with flight software, space-qualified mechanisms, communications, pointing, navigation and synchronization. Five-time astronaut and Sierra Space Chief Strategy Officer Steve Lindsey explained:

Sierra Space is firmly situated at the forefront of the development of the new space economy and the commercialization of space, and this team has all the ingredients necessary to design the definitive lunar terrain vehicle for Artemis astronauts on the moon. NASA has already developed a business partnership model for low Earth orbit crew and cargo transport services – including our Dream Chaser spaceplane for cargo resupply to the International Space Station – and this LTV team is ready. to answer the call as the agency expands this business model to transport astronauts to the lunar surface.

Despite posting the LTV news, Nissan is the only company whose role remains unclear. That being said, the aforementioned lunar rover, along with a recent demonstration video using hot ramen, offers evidence that Nissan may be integrating its e-4ORCE technology into the LTV for NASA, but this has not been confirmed. Nissan previously described how it works:

e-4ORCE is Nissan’s most advanced All-Wheel Control technology that precisely manages power output and braking performance for smoothness and stability. The system improves driver confidence by tracing the intended driving line on almost any road surface, including wet and snowy roads, without the need to alter driving style or input.

Could Nissan’s e-4ORCE help astronauts in NASA’s Artemis program stay grounded while cruising the surface of the Moon? We’ll see! For now, watch the recent teaser video released by Nissan.

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