NASA wants this EV maker to build vehicles to take astronauts to launchpad
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has picked electric-truck maker Canoo to build vehicles to carry astronauts to the launchpad for its upcoming missions to the moon and Mars. This comes at time when the EV maker is grappling with a federal securities investigation and employee exodus.
The contract, valued at $147,855, was awarded to Canoo last week with an announcement on the website for the US General Services Administration. All the other competing bidders have time till later this month to protest the award. Whereas NASA told Bloomberg that it is "excited for this partnership and looks forward to seeing the next generation of crew transport vehicles".
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Under the partnership, Canoo would manufacture at least one vehicle to carry astronauts in Artemis missions through a short distance from a preparation building to the launchpad during dress rehearsals and on launch day. This vehicle will have no emissions, have a minimum range of 50 miles or 80 kilometers and have space for eight people.
The delivery of crew transport vehicles by Canoo is slated for June, 2023 whereas the first crewed Artemis mission is slated for 2024. Post this announcement, Canoo's shares rose 1.8% as of 5:38 p.m. in New York after jumping as much as 5% in after-hours trading.
NASA has often used electric vehicles from different manufacturers to shuttle is astronauts. Those who flew on the Space Shuttle missions rode to the launchpad in a modified Airstream trailer known as the ‘Astrovan’. More recently, Tesla vehicles were used in launches by another Elon Musk company, SpaceX. Jeff Bezos arrived at a Blue Origin launch in a ride made by Rivian Automotive, which is backed by Amazon. Though Canoo is significantly smaller than either of those EV manufacturers, it could surely use a boost.
(with inputs from Bloomberg)