NASA is seeking something very cool, an update to its classic and iconic Crew Transportation Vehicle. Currently the vehicle is a shiny silver 1983 Airstream transportation vehicle. That vehicle has been in use for decades and has carried most NASA astronauts to the launch pad to head into space. NASA has issued a request for proposal seeking a new or updated Artemis Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV).
The purpose of the vehicle will be to transport astronauts from the suiting-up facility to the Launch Pad on launch day. The CTV will “embody” Artemis to the public according to NASA, while transporting astronauts to the launch pad. NASA wants the new CTV no later than June 2023.
It’s looking for proposals in three categories. The first is a non-commercial option designed and manufactured vehicle specific to the task. A commercial vehicle option would take an available commercial vehicle that can be modified to meet NASA requirements. For us, the most interesting option is a refit of the classic CTV NASA already owns.
The requirements for the CTV include that it has to be pure electric, hybrid, or fuel cell electric. It must also be designed and manufactured to meet all NHTSA standards for passenger vehicles. NASA will provide the artwork for the vehicle, which will be approved by all stakeholders in the project before installation.
CTV passenger capacity has to fit eight people including the driver, four suited astronauts, a suit technician, a flight operations director and a protective services agent. CTV must also have readily accessible equipment including four equipment bags, four ice-based cooling units, a pad transfer bag, and an additional two cubic feet of storage space. Doors must be wide enough to allow the fully suited astronauts easy access. There is currently no solicitation for the CTV available.