Venturi Astrolab’s FLEX rover to launch to the Moon on an upcoming SpaceX mission
MONACO, March 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In three years’ time, the Monegasque Venturi Group will write the most impressive page in its history: in 2026, the FLEX (Flexible Logistics and Exploration) rover, the result of an international collaboration (see below), will head for the Moon. The American company SpaceX will be responsible for transporting the rover, which will be the largest and most capable in the history of lunar vehicles. SpaceX will use its Starship launch and landing system to transport FLEX to the lunar surface.
HISTORY AND PROGRAMME
It was in 2019, under the impetus of Venturi Group’s President, Gildo Pastor, that the electric lunar rover programme was imagined and then put in place. A Swiss entity, Venturi Lab S.A., was created. At the same time, a strategic partnership was created with an American-owned company based in Los Angeles (Hawthorne), Venturi Astrolab, Inc (Astrolab).
Astrolab and Venturi Lab work with Venturi Group’s historic base in Monaco. Together, the three companies are designing, developing and building the FLEX rover.
As early as 2026, FLEX – deposited by the Starship launch and landing system on the surface of the moon – will become operational. It will demonstrate its efficiency, viability and capacity to conduct scientific experiments and commercial activities.
STRUCTURE AND EXPERTISE
The collective team includes engineers and scientists from the fields of space mobility, terrestrial and planetary robotics, industry, development, advanced technology research, electromobility, fuel cells and batteries, hydrogen storage, composite materials and processes manufacturing.
Each company provides the following expertise:
- Venturi Group in Monaco is dedicated to high performance batteries. In this, it is accompanied for the test phases by its US subsidiary, Venturi North America (Ohio, USA). This branch is located at Ohio State University and works closely with its mechanical engineering students.
- Venturi Lab creates materials resistant to extreme conditions (low temperatures and radiation), high-performance solar panels, deformable wheels and electrical control systems. It also manages relations with ESA.
- Venturi Astrolab designs the vehicle architecture, its primary structure & mechanisms, develops its software and avionics, assembles it, and conducts validation testing.
The rover’s human factors and aesthetic design have been informed and inspired by designer Sacha Lakic. Lakic has a long history of collaborating on the design of Venturi Group’s innovative vehicles.
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