NASA got some new crew transports yesterday: a small fleet of three all-electric, “specially designed” vans designed by EV startup Canoo that will shuttle the fully suited-up Artemis crew, support personnel, and equipment to the launchpad at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA will also use the new fleet for astronaut training exercises ahead of next year’s planned Artemis II mission — a sort of test run that’ll zip astronauts around the Moon and back.
It would be the first crewed mission out of low Earth orbit since 1972. If all goes well, Artemis III will follow with a 2025 launch, aiming to put a crew on the Moon’s surface.
Canoo was reportedly having issues with its funding last year but seems to have been saved by some key contracts. Later in the year, Walmart tossed the company a lifeline when it ordered 4,500 delivery vehicles. Also last year, it delivered a modified version of its prototype pickup truck to the US Army called the Light Tactical Vehicle.
NASA says its creative team, which included the Artemis launch director and representatives from the Houston-based Johnson Space Center’s Astronaut Office, had input on the vans’ interior and exterior markings and colors.