Astrolab demonstrates the prototype of the lunar rover

California startup Astrolab has presented a prototype of the lunar rover FLEX (Flexible Logistics and Exploration). It is proposed to be used as part of the Artemis program.

Prototype of the FLEX lunar rover. Source: Astrolab

FLEX is a four-wheeled vehicle capable of carrying up to 1500 kg of cargo. It can be controlled both remotely and manually by two astronauts. 

Astrolab hopes that FLEX will be able to compete for victory on the LTV (Lunar Terrain Vehicle) project. Within its framework, NASA has asked private companies to submit projects of lunar vehicles that can be used in the Artemis program. Many companies responded to the offer, including giants like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. However, their projects are still in the early stages of development, while Astrolab has already built a full-size prototype. Moreover, the rover was tested with the participation of former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who highly appreciated the capabilities of the car. 

Now NASA plans to start using lunar vehicles no earlier than the Artemis V mission scheduled for 2027. But Astrolab hopes that FLEX can be ready for the Artemis III mission (2025). If the contract is received, the lunar vehicle will be delivered to the landing site of the expedition using a separate carrier.

According to