New SpaceX spacecraft to land rover on the Moon

Astrolab has signed an agreement with SpaceX. It provides for sending the FLEX rover to the Moon using the new Starship spacecraft. The mission is scheduled for 2026.

The concept of the FLEX rover. Source: Astrolab

The FLEX rover (Flexible Logistics and Exploration) will be built by Venturi Astrolab. According to the designers, it will become the largest and most technologically complex wheeled vehicle that has ever landed on the Moon. Its mass will exceed 1000 kg. 

FLEX will be delivered to the area of the south pole of the Moon and optimized for operation in this region. The rover will receive a robotic arm that can be controlled remotely to load and unload cargo. It is expected that it will be able to cover a distance of up to 2 thousand kilometers per year. The prototype spacecraft was tested in March 2022 in the California desert. At the moment, the launch of FLEX is scheduled for mid-2026.

A new Starship spacecraft will be used to launch FLEX. Currently, a prototype of it and the Super Heavy accelerator are placed on the launch pad of the SpaceX test complex in Boca Chica. So far, the company does not name a specific date for the first orbital flight of the spacecraft. But according to a recent comment by Elon Musk, he believes that it is no more than a few weeks.

Earlier we talked that NASA started the construction of its first lunar rover.

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