NASA seeks a new ride for astronauts to the Artemis launch pad - Ars Technica
Sep 24, 2021 55 secs

NASA has asked industry for ideas to develop an "Artemis Crew Transportation Vehicle" that will take its astronauts from suit-up facilities to the launch pad on launch day.

The space agency, of course, has not launched its own astronauts on a NASA-built vehicle since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

From 1984 through the end of the shuttle era, the agency used a modified Airstream motor home, known as the "Astrovan," to ferry crews to the launch pad.

Now, NASA is gearing up for a new era of deep space exploration, and it plans to launch four astronauts at a time inside the Orion spacecraft, on top of a Space Launch System rocket.

While it has taken literally decades and tens of billions of dollars to develop the spacecraft and rocket, NASA is hoping its launch pad ride can be furnished a little more quickly.

As part of its solicitation, NASA has a lengthy list of requirements for its Artemis transport vehicle.

It's using a capsule design, not dissimilar to Apollo, and a large rocket with space shuttle main engines designed in the 1970s.


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