Spacebit is developing micro-rover technologies and rover deployment systems to be able to carry scientific payloads in support of the Artemis Program space exploration and research goals. The UK-based company is the only commercial company to secure two, consecutive, NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) delivery missions to the Moon.
Spacebit is one of the first commercial lunar companies that plans to fly on every NASA CLPS delivery on the market. Intuitive Machines was awarded a NASA CLPS contract in 2019 and revealed details earlier this year for its first lunar landing in support of NASA’s Artemis program.
The Houston-based company will launch their Nova-C lander in October 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The target landing site is Vallis Schröteri (Schröter’s Valley) in the Moon’s Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms). The company said the site is “flat, free of craters and rocks, and has abundant sunlight” throughout the 14-day mission.
To mark the UK’s First mission to the Moon, Spacebit has developed the World’s First ever Moon-Walking Rover, ‘Asagumo.’ The current landing schedule for Asagumo (Mission 1) is Q3 2021 onboard the first of several NASA CLPS commercial moon delivery assignments to advance Artemis.
The 4-legged micro rover can adapt to, and function in, challenging spaces, in and around the lunar surface, specifically, lunar lava tubes. Spacebit is developing proprietary wheeled rover technology that will carry a standard 1/2U NASA payload module.
Asagumo and the wheeled rover are optimized for assessment of in-situ lunar resources, intended to support lunar exploration under the Artemis Program.
“Intuitive Machines was founded to support both government and commercial lunar surface transportation needs and provide responsive and affordable access to the Moon for innovative commercial enterprises such as Spacebit. The microrobotic technologies that Spacebit is developing and demonstrating on our CLPS flight next year will be a valuable addition to the suite of tools needed for commercial lunar development,” said Trent Martin, VP of Space Services, Intuitive Machines.
“Our Flight Services Agreement with Spacebit is another example of how the NASA CLPS program is enabling NewSpace companies to participate in the Artemis Program at an affordable price point and contribute to the development of a commercial lunar ecosystem to help build a vibrant
Cis-Lunar Economy,” added Steve Altemus, CEO, Intuitive Machines.