A Canoo might be NASA’s official astronaut transport vehicle. Not the boat, but the battery-powered vehicle. The US General Services Administration has given the bubbly EV company a contract to create a vehicle that will transport astronauts to the launchpad as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
This comparison isn’t for a showy $1 Corvette like the astronauts of yesteryear had. It’s actually intended for Canoo to develop a huge people mover capable of transporting up to eight passengers along sections of public roadway—something Canoo is very convinced it’ll be able to do soon enough.
Canoo teased this pickup truck last year but no word since.
Canoo will get $147,855 as part of its contract to produce at least one vehicle for NASA, dubbed the Artemis Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV), by June 2023. The CTV’s official mission will be to travel roughly 10 miles from the Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center. And if the launch fails, it will be held accountable for bringing them back.
According to NASA’s technical specifications, the CTV must be a zero-emissions vehicle—either a battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel cell electric vehicle. It must also seat eight people, including a driver and four fully-suited NASA flight crew members, and have approximately 60 cubic feet of storage space—roughly the same as a Mazda CX-5 with its rear seats folded down.
It must have a range of 50 miles and be able to sustain an eight-hour duty day while using heat or, more critically in the hot Florida environment, air conditioning. Finally, and maybe most importantly, it must have a sick NASA wrap or paint job that “inspire(s) the NASA agency and the public for future Artemis missions.”
Having said that, Canoo still has some issues to sort out if it wants to continue its streak of success. The US Securities and Exchange Commission launched a “fact-finding probe” into Canoo’s SPAC merger in 2021. Furthermore, two high-ranking vice presidents recently left Canoo, including the company’s VP of production and VP of investor relations, in February. Not long ago, two co-founders, the chief technology officer and the chief marketing officer, also left the startup. Now that’s a lot of exits and not the good kind.