General Motors and Lockheed Martin will develop a vehicle to drive NASA astronauts around on the moon’s surface, they said Wednesday, competing for a space project that could also promote their brands on Earth.
GM and Lockheed said they would collaborate to make a battery-powered, autonomous Lunar Terrain Vehicle for NASA’s Artemis lunar landing program, which aims to return US astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.
NASA is expected to launch a competition to develop lunar vehicles in its Artemis moon landing program. The agency has outlined plans for a variety of lunar vehicles that can carry human explorers, haul commercial payloads or traverse remote regions of the moon on missions lasting as long as 100 days.
Elon Musk’s rocket launch company, SpaceX, won a $2.9 billion contract last month to build the spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts to the moon. That award is being challenged by Jeff Bezos’ BlueOrigin and defense contractor Dynetics.
Lockheed and GM have a history in space. Lockheed has worked on NASA space projects for 50 years and GM helped develop the original NASA lunar rover, which ferried NASA astronauts on the surface of the moon in the early 1970s.
The NASA lunar