The space robotics startup has selected Elon Musk’s rocket-launching company to carry its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in 2023. The Griffin lander itself will carry NASA’s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) toward the lunar south pole.
“Getting to the Moon isn’t just about building a spacecraft, but having a complete mission solution. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy completes our Griffin Mission 1 (GM1) solution by providing a proven launch vehicle to carry us on our trajectory to the Moon. SpaceX has the team, vehicle, and facilities to make this happen,” says Daniel Gillies, GM1 Director for Astrobotic.
Last year, Astrobotic won the contract from NASA to deliver VIPER to the moon as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The mission’s activity will be the first step in gaining a better understanding of the resources on the Moon and advancing humanity’s reach beyond Earth. The VIPER mission is Astrobotic’s third planned mission. The first lunar lander mission will launch this year, when its Peregrine will conduct research for NASA and carry payloads from companies and space agencies from Canada, Mexico, U.K., Japan, Hungary and Chile.
In Pittsburgh, robots are part of everyday life. They surround us: in the air, on roads and underground; in our hospitals, grocery stores, warehouses and airports; and on vertical urban farms producing locally grown food. These intelligent machines are practically applied here, making daily tasks easier, better, cheaper and safer.
To some, this may seem like the beginning of a robot apocalypse. But we don’t see it that way. There are no threatening cyborgs or humanoid bots here, but rather machines that take care of tasks like separating recyclables, delivering our midnight snacks and disinfecting public spaces.
There are many more, and we’re working together daily to solve the world’s hardest problems and improve our lives.