ISU MSS 2024

NASA selects CubeRover for Survive-the-Lunar-Night Mission

CubeRover. Credit: Astrobotic

Edinburgh / Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, 25 August 2022. – NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Sequential Phase II program selected space robotic technology company Astrobotic, to develop, test, and fly lunar night survival and communication technologies aboard the CubeRover platform, Astrobotic said. 

The Astrobotic lander mission will fly CubeRover to the Moon to demonstrate its ability to survive the lunar night. The platform will also utilize satellite relays to traverse long distances while on the Moon’s surface. 

During lunar nights, temperatures can drop to – 200⁰C, which could potentially disable thermally sensitive batteries and electronics. Astrobotic has previously been subcontracted by Advanced Cooling Technologies to develop, integrate, and demonstrate lunar night thermal systems to tackle this issue.

Similarly, driving long distances from the host lander poses a communication challenge. This problem is planned to be overcome by the use of satellite communication relays, to extend CubeRover’s range. 

The platform recently successfully completed its Critical Design Review with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Tipping Point program, Astrobotic said. The company is currently working on CubeRover’s flight qualification campaign, which is essential for upcoming missions.

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