Venturi Astrolab, Inc. is a robotics developer company from Hawthorne, California, that aims to operate a fleet of rovers on the Moon. Astrolab signed an agreement with SpaceX to launch a Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover to the Moon’s surface aboard a future Starship mission. SpaceX Starship is scheduled to launch FLEX as soon as mid-2026.
SpaceX’s Starship launch system is under development at the Starbase facility located at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. The aerospace company is working to perform the first-ever Starship orbital flight test this year. “Starship is designed to transport large amounts of cargo, including rovers, to the Moon and Mars for research and exploration,” said SpaceX Senior Vice President of Commercial Business Tom Ochinero. “Developing sustainable outposts will require lunar logistics and transportation on the surface of the Moon, like what Astrolab offers. We look forward to working with the Astrolab team to deliver their FLEX Rover to the surface of the Moon.”
“Our Astrolab team has created much more than a rover for use on the Moon or Mars,” said Astrolab founder and CEO Jaret Matthews. “We’ve created a logistics system that can accommodate a wide variety of cargo. We expect that this approach will help establish a permanent lunar outpost on the Moon at a lower cost and in less time than previously envisioned. We are delighted that this contract with SpaceX will allow Astrolab to demonstrate the advantages of the FLEX rover and its modular payload system,” they stated in a press release.
Astrolab representatives say that when the FLEX rover lands on the lunar surface it will become “the largest and most capable rover to ever travel to the Moon. With a maximum combined rover and cargo mass of more than two tons, the FLEX rover is nearly three times the mass of its largest predecessor.” FLEX is designed to carry payloads for Astrolab’s customers to the Moon. Astrolab already has several customer agreements that will be revealed later this Spring.
The FLEX rover will be able to be operated on the Moon by engineers on Earth and be able to send data. The rover is equipped with a robotic arm that can be controlled remotely to load and unload cargo. It is also designed to serve as an unpressurized rover for a pair of astronauts to drive on the Moon, as pictured below. Astrolab designed FLEX to fit with NASA's requirements for the agency's Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) specifications, and with their first lunar demonstration the company hopes to someday qualify to operate a FLEX fleet cruising on the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis program which aims to have a permanent lunar base.
》 Author's note: Thanks for reading Tesmanian.com. Write your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《
Featured Images Source: SpaceX / Astrolab
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.