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NASA’s Artemis Rover passes critical design review

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NASA’s Artemis Rover passes critical design review

Press Release From: NASA Headquarters
Posted: Wednesday October 27 2021

NASA’s first lunar mobile robot, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) has passed its Critical Design Review (CDR), a critical milestone indicating that the rover has a completed design and has been approved by a review committee independent from NASA. The mission can now focus on building the rover itself, which will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon-Heavy rocket to be delivered to the Moon by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. from NASA.

As part of the Artemis program, the VIPER mission is managed from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, and its primary objective is to obtain a close-up view of the location and ice concentration as well. than other resources on the moon. South Pole. Using a suite of on-board instruments developed across the agency and with business partners, the mission will be able to identify and possibly map where ice and other resources exist across and below the lunar surface. This resource mapping mission will bring NASA closer to its goal of first long-term presence on the Moon and contribute to our understanding of the origin of lunar water.

“The VIPER team focused on completing the design of this smart little mission, leading us to this culminating review,” said Daniel Andrews, VIPER project manager. “With an approved design, the team now plans to turn that design into real hardware, bringing VIPER to life in 2022.”

Construction of the rover will begin in late 2022 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, while design of the rover’s flight software and navigation system will take place in Ames. Astrobotic will receive the complete rover with its scientific instruments in mid-2023 for launch later this year.

VIPER design passed its final test

The CDR is the final exam that focuses on the design of the system. Making sure the rover’s systems and instruments are able to work together is no easy task. The success of the Mission CDR builds on a series of previous Critical Design Assessments (CDA), in which independent reviewers have assessed VIPER systems individually.

Early ADCs focused on functions such as in-flight navigation systems and software, thermal and mechanical systems, etc. The CDR has ensured that these components are all capable of working together in a fully functional robotic system ready to explore the lunar surface.

Since VIPER passed its first milestone called the Preliminary Design Review, or PDR, the design of the system has evolved considerably, focusing on how to safely conduct as much science as possible on the lunar surface. The selection of the region west of the Nobile crater as the rover’s landing site was specifically chosen to match the capabilities of the overall VIPER system while meeting all scientific objectives.

A design ready to reveal the secrets of the moon

This final, approved design of the rover weighs 992 pounds in total and can travel at a speed of 0.45 mph. It uses a solar-powered battery with a maximum output of 450 watts and mounted headlights – the first NASA rover to do so. Using its cameras and headlights, VIPER will bypass hazards and traverse craters while remaining connected to Earth using the Deep Space Network.

The rover and its components have been tested to withstand the extreme lunar environment and answer key questions about the makeup of the Moon. Using a rotary hammer and three scientific instruments, VIPER will analyze drill cuttings for ice and other resources. VIPER will also study soil and gases in the lunar environment.

“Science will influence the VIPER mission in real time unlike any mission prior to it,” said Anthony Colaprete, senior scientist for the VIPER project. “It’s exciting to have the design approved and our collective ideas realized with this assignment. “

Learn more about the VIPER mission on:

https://www.nasa.gov/viper

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