SpaceX Will Take Astrolab’s FLEX Rover to the Moon

Astrolab has signed an agreement for SpaceX to deliver its FLEX Rover to the Moon on its upcoming mission....
SpaceX Will Take Astrolab’s FLEX Rover to the Moon
Written by Staff
  • Astrolab has signed an agreement for SpaceX to deliver its FLEX Rover to the Moon on its upcoming mission.

    Astrolab says the FLEX will be “the largest and most capable rover to ever travel to the Moon.” With cargo, the rover will have a combined mass of more than two times, nearly tripling the size of its predecessor. The increased size will allow the rover to better carry out various scientific endeavors as well as commercial pursuits.

    One of the biggest benefits FLEX offers is modularity that allows the rover to be used for a variety of missions.

    Historically, planetary rovers have been custom designed for each specific mission. These missions typically have occurred around once every ten years. But with the rapid increase in launch cadence along with the significant increases in payload capacity of launch vehicles, this bespoke approach to rover design is no longer practical or efficient.

    That’s why Astrolab designed the FLEX rover to transport and deploy payloads in a modular system. Astrolab seeks to prove the benefits of having a highly capable and versatile rover to establish infrastructure, conduct high-priority science, and deploy technology demos and other specialized systems on the lunar surface. Astrolab plans for this rover to be the first in a fleet of FLEX rovers on the lunar surface that will accelerate the vision of creating a permanent human presence on the Moon, and eventually Mars.

    The FLEX can be controlled from Earth or used by a crew of two astronauts as an unpressured rover. The rover also meets NASA’s specs for its Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV).

    “Our Astrolab team has created much more than a rover for use on the Moon or Mars,” said Jaret Matthews, Founder and CEO of Astrolab. “We’ve created a logistics system that can accommodate a wide variety of cargo. We expect that that this approach will help establish a permanent lunar outpost on the Moon at a lower cost and in less time than previously envisioned. We are delighted that this contract with SpaceX will allow Astrolab to demonstrate the advantages of the FLEX rover and its modular payload system.”

    “Starship is designed to transport large amounts of cargo, including rovers, to the Moon and Mars for research and exploration,” said Tom Ochinero, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business, SpaceX. “Developing sustainable outposts will require lunar logistics and transportation on the surface of the Moon, like what Astrolab offers. We look forward to working with the Astrolab team to deliver their FLEX Rover to the surface of the Moon.”

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