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Astrobotic Awarded NASA Study Contract for Polar Mission to the Moon

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 18, 2019
Filed under , ,

Griffin lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic announces today it was one of two companies selected by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to study the first payload delivery mission to the South Pole of the Moon. The mission would deliver NASA payloads to investigate lunar volatile elements such as hydrogen and oxygen, which could one day be used by NASA and the private sector for astronaut life support and in-space rocket fuel.

The study contract awarded to Astrobotic will analyze how Astrobotic’s medium lunar lander Griffin, and its workhorse rover Polaris, could deliver volatile-detecting payloads to the lunar South Pole. The mission would also pave the way for NASA’s human lander mission in 2024, and survey the landing site for the first human mission to the Moon since the Apollo program.

“The ability to detect, extract and process Hydrogen and oxygen at the Moon holds great promise for dramatically lowering the cost of living and working in space, and Griffin and Polaris were both designed to pursue exactly these kinds of lunar resource opportunities,” said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. “Griffin and Polaris are years in the making, and both are complementary to the cislunar service capabilities our Peregrine lunar lander will demonstrate when it flies in 2021. As a result of our product-line approach to lunar logistics, these three vehicles share common parts, components, and design philosophies. When Peregrine flies in 2021, many of our approaches and hardware will be validated for Griffin and Polaris,” he said.

Polaris rover (Credit: Astrobotic)

Griffin is a lunar lander product line that will carry 400 kg of uncrewed payload to the Moon. With Griffin’s robust delivery capacity, the lunar surface is open to companies, governments, universities, and individuals for next-generation lunar surface activities. Polaris is a commercial “pick-up” truck for the Moon, capable of hosting 90 kg of mobile lunar surface payload for numerous mission types including resource prospecting, in-situ resource utilization, sample return, fuel production, technology demonstration, long distance traverse, and marsupial supported missions.

With this NASA study in place and 29 payload deals from 8 countries signed for Peregrine Mission One, Astrobotic is making the Moon accessible to the world with end-to-end delivery services and industry-leading space robotics.

10 responses to “Astrobotic Awarded NASA Study Contract for Polar Mission to the Moon”

  1. Andrew_M_Swallow says:

    Any videos of Griffin flying?
    A video of a prototype Polaris driving along would be nice.

    • Aerospike says:

      Idk… Originally astrobotic felt like a top contender in the GLXP and even when they withdrew from the contest it seemed that they would be one of the firsts to reach the moon.

      But as the years pass by they do study after study, still show the same old (*cough* lame *cough*) low fidelity mockup instead of any progress on Hardware while SpaceIL have been the only team to even attempt to land on the moon (and boy did they come close!)

      Not sure what to expect of astrobotic, moon express, et al. these days…

      • windbourne says:

        to be honest, I have been unimpressed by the Americans on the x-prize. A real lack of funding and desire.
        They all seem to expect NASA/gov to push them through.

        • P.K. Sink says:

          I think that the problem has been that there really is no near term business case for regular trips to the moon. Maybe some NASA money can kickstart something. The same might be said for commercial prospects in LEO.

      • Andrew_M_Swallow says:

        I notice the rover in that article was filmed in 2012. I hope a space rated version has been made since.

        • Rabbit says:

          They have a way to go before Griffin and Polaris are going to be certified for flight. The lander that NASA is going to pay for is their X-Prize contender, the Peregrine (no rover).
          We shall see if they do better than SpaceIL did on the first try.

  2. Robert G. Oler says:

    go go go

  3. ThomasLMatula says:

    Listening to Charles Bolden at the JFK Space Summitt and his many
    negative comments on commercial firms being involved in a lunar return I am beginning to understand why Commercial Crew took so long. Really, if it wasn’t for Lori Graver it probably wouldn’t have survived at NASA.

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