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Sierra Nevada Wins NASA Contract to Power Water-Seeking VIPER Lunar Rover

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 29, 2021
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NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

SPARKS, Nev., March 29, 2021 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security company owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, was awarded a contract for a program supporting NASA’s water-hunting robot mission to the moon. SNC will contribute its cutting-edge solar array technology to power a rover on the lunar surface in its mission to identify and quantify water and volatile resources, helping advance the agency’s Artemis program. 

“SNC’s solar arrays are truly game-changing and seeing them power a moon rover is a dream come true,” said SNC’s CEO Fatih Ozmen.  “This mission adds to our long history of supporting interplanetary missions, including 14 missions to Mars where we have safely landed the rovers on the planet’s surface.”

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) rover is targeted to land on the south pole of the moon in late 2023 for an approximate 100-day mission. The rover, a mobile robot, will be delivered to the lunar surface under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

Powered by SNC’s Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solar panels, the VIPER will get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice that could eventually be harvested to sustain human exploration on the moon, Mars and beyond. 

“Our solar panels provide the rover with greater power and design flexibility at a lower cost than conventional ones,” said Janet Kavandi, former NASA astronaut and executive vice president for SNC’s Space Systems business area. “SNC’s manufacturing process produces panels that have up to 15% higher power density than competitors, and greater reliability and resiliency.”

The solar panels will provide full power for the rover operation during the mission, keeping the batteries charged and payload systems operating.

This contract builds on SNC ‘s SMT solar power module technology applications for both NASA and commercial lunar vehicle applications.

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About Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

Owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through best-of-breed, open architecture engineering in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. SNC is recognized among The Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space, as a Tier One Superior Supplier for the U.S. Air Force and is the only aerospace and defense firm selected as a 2020 US Best Managed Company. For nearly 60 years, SNC has delivered state-of-the-art civil, military and commercial solutions including more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participation in more than 450 missions to space, including to Mars.

5 responses to “Sierra Nevada Wins NASA Contract to Power Water-Seeking VIPER Lunar Rover”

  1. GaryChurch says:

    The Moon should have had dozens of robot exploration missions over the years instead of wasting money and effort on Mars. The Mars mafia has set back humankind expanding into the solar system by a couple decades at least. Bob Zubrin, Elon Musk, and all the rest of the fools promoting that rock as the next destination have done a great deal of unrealized damage.

    If the Moon had been the focus we would likely have several Lava Tubes the size of small cities located and millions of tons of ice ready to be exploited. Instead we flushed billions down the drain on the stupidity that is Mars.

    • Robert G. Oler says:

      why? why would we have lava tubes full of cities what would they do

      • GaryChurch says:

        Factories making things like space solar power satellites, massive alloy discs for pulse propulsion spaceships, the first miles in diameter artificial hollow spinning moon sections, etc. Launched into space using 20 to 25 times less energy than from Earth.

        You know, what we should have been doing a couple decades ago.

        • duheagle says:

          To the extent any of that actually happens – and it mostly won’t because it makes no sense – the industrialization of the Moon is going to be a project of private enterprise, not of governments – including ours.

          • GaryChurch says:

            Trump/Musk fanboy, climate denier, troll….you have them all covered.

            Except for space enthusiast. You and your gang are the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Ayn-Rand-in-space whack jobs.

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