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Sep 22, 2021

NASA VIPER rover and Astrobotic Griffin lander select moon landing site for 2023

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

The NASA VIPER rover – a precursor mission to human landings in the south polar region of the Moon, and a mission started in 2019 under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program – has had its landing site selected for its 2023 mission. The rover, known as the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, is now scheduled to land west of Nobile Crater in the lunar south polar region sometime in late 2023 after its launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

This mission, costing $660 million, is one of several that will launch to the Moon in the next two years and is notable for being the first NASA rover to launch as a customer aboard a commercial lander.

The golf cart-sized VIPER rover will be mounted onto a Griffin lunar lander built by Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based company developing various lunar spacecraft that can carry payloads into lunar orbit or onto the lunar surface. After landing, VIPER will roll out onto the lunar surface with the help of a pair of ramps mounted on the lander and conduct checkouts before starting its surface mission.

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