NASA has awarded the Lunar Dawn team a lunar terrain vehicle services (LTVS) contract. The contract is led by Lunar Outpost as the prime contractor along with its principal partner Lockheed Martin and teammates General Motors, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and MDA Space. The team will combine its expertise in robotic and human space exploration with the latest technologies and automotive industry strengths to create a human-rated lunar terrain vehicle (LTV) that will live and work on its surface.

It is part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, which seeks to explore the Moon’s surface for scientific discovery, technological advancement and learn how humans can adapt to live and work on another world as NASA prepares for human missions to Mars. NASA’s campaign will establish the first long-term presence on the Moon through several collaborations with commercial and international partners.


The LTV will “dramatically extend the range that astronauts can travel from their landing sites as they perform high-priority science investigations on the Moon,” said NASA. When not in operation for these investigations by NASA, the LTV will also be utilised for commercial services, contributing to a more accessible and sustainable “cislunar economy”. This dawning economy is poised to grow with the potential to tap into the economic gains found in the resources and strategic locations in the space between the Earth and the Moon, such as resource mining and production.

“Surface mobility is a critical capability for humanity’s future in space, and Lunar Outpost looks forward to driving value in the cislunar economy by providing a reliable, safe and capable vehicle that will be used to provide mobility to Artemis astronauts and perform critical missions autonomously on the Moon for commercial endeavours,” said Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus.

The LTV features a flight deck-forward design that will provide an expansive view while navigating the challenging lunar landscape. Additionally, it will have advanced autonomous navigation and operation capabilities, a reconfigurable cargo bed that allows for the changing of payloads with its robotic arm, which will benefit its commercial usage, and has the ability to survive and operate during the two-week long lunar nights where temperatures fall as low as minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit (-173.3°C).

“These unique technologies will enable the future of critical infrastructure required for a sustainable presence in space where humans can live, work far from Earth,” said Lockheed Martin vice president of lunar exploration campaigns Kirk Shireman. “Lockheed Martin is thrilled to be combining expertise with a diverse set of companies to embark on this next generation rover that will expand exploration and our understanding of the lunar surface.”

Cyrus added: “We look forward to leveraging the strengths of Lockheed Martin, a company with extensive human and advanced space systems experience, and our other industry teammates, GM, Goodyear and MDA Space, to provide an unparalleled technical offering at a commercially viable price point.”

Lunar Outpost will pioneer the project with its track record of venture capital investors and understanding of the commercial market for lunar rover projects. From its team, General Motors will bring its Ultium EV battery technology along with its extensive chassis and suspension development expertise; Goodyear will develop the LTV’s tires, utilising its experience in lunar mobility dating back to the Apollo missions; and MDA Space will develop robotic arm and interfaces for the LTV.