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Astrolab unveils lunar rover design

FLEX rover prototype. Credit: Astrolab

Edinburgh / Hawthorne, 14 March 2022. – Emerging aerospace company formed by a team of industry leading planetary rover and robotics experts, Venturi Astrolab, announced the development of the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover built to enhance lunar and planetary mobility. The company aims to produce a fleet of rovers needed to support a sustainable human presence on the Moon and Mars.

Pro-longed human presence and the need to move hundreds of tons of payload around demand a new approach to surface operations. Planetary rovers have been custom-designed around a particular payload which is not compatible with NASA’s ultimate goal. Astrolab designed FLEX around a modular payload interface supporting intermodal transportation.

Its novel mobility system architecture gives FLEX the ability to pick up and deposit payloads. The technology can support robotic science, exploration, logistics, site survey, construction, resource utilization, and other activities. FLEX can also serve as an unpressurized rover and accommodate two astronauts, in accordance with NASA’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle requirements.

Astrolab has recently tested a full-scale, fully-functional terrestrial prototype of the FLEX rover including both crewed and telerobotic operations. Retired NASA and Canadian Space Agency astronaut and engineer Chris Hadfield participated in the five-day field test. Astrolab will take Hadfield’s feedback on board regarding the vehicle’s design and performance before making any changes to it.

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