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Before mission to the moon, NASA astronauts will hitch a ride in this van

With the Vehicle Assembly Building in the background, the three specially designed, fully electric, environmentally friendly crew transportation vehicles for Artemis missions arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 11, 2023. The zero-emission vehicles, which will carry astronauts to Launch Complex 39B for Artemis missions, were delivered by the manufacturer, Canoo Technologies Inc. of Torrance, California.
Isaac Watson
/
NASA
With the Vehicle Assembly Building in the background, the three specially designed, fully electric, environmentally friendly crew transportation vehicles for Artemis missions arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 11, 2023. The zero-emission vehicles, which will carry astronauts to Launch Complex 39B for Artemis missions, were delivered by the manufacturer, Canoo Technologies Inc. of Torrance, California.

NASA’s next generation of moon astronauts will have a new ride to the launchpad.

Electric vehicle company Canoo delivered three, all electric, zero-emission vans that will fit the four astronauts aboard the upcoming Artemis II mission, as well as equipment and technicians that will assist the crew in final preparations ahead of their launch from Kennedy Space Center.

The Artemis II mission will take the first crew around the moon and return them safely, launching on NASA’s SLS rocket and traveling to lunar orbit in the agency’s Orion space capsule. While this crew won’t land on the moon, the mission is laying the foundation for the following mission, which will bring astronauts to the lunar surface -- the first time in more than 50 years.

But before they can leave the planet, they need a ride to their launchpad. The Canoo vehicles were designed by Artemis launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and the NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center. It was custom made to fit the crew’s needs for the mission while also honoring the agency’s legacy in human space exploration. Crews for previous programs made the trip in what NASA workers called the “Astrovan,” a modified Airstream motor home.

 Seen from an upper level of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Astrovan transports the STS-135 astronauts to the pad to participate in a launch countdown simulation exercise.
Jim Grossmann
/
NASA
Seen from an upper level of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Astrovan transports the STS-135 astronauts to the pad to participate in a launch countdown simulation exercise.

NASA’s Blackwell-Thompson says she hopes the new design will keep the astronauts safe and bring pride to the Artemis mission.

“The collaboration between Canoo and our NASA representatives focused on the crews’ safety and comfort on the way to the pad ahead of their journey to the Moon. I have no doubt everyone who sees these new vehicles will feel the same sense of pride I have for this next endeavor of crewed Artemis missions.”

The Artemis II mission is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center as early as November 2024. NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Christina Koch, and Reid Wiseman, along with Canada’s Jeremy Hansen, were selected for the mission earlier this year and have begun training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

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