Falcon Heavy will launch the VIPER rover to the Moon
Astrobotic Technology has selected SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch vehicle to launch its VIPER lunar rover in November 2023.
In a hundred days of operation, the rover is expected to map water ice deposits near the moon's south pole, according to Spacenews.com.
The development of the VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) rover is carried out by the American private company Astrobotic Technology, which entered into a contract with NASA in October 2019.
The total cost of the project at the moment is 433 million dollars.
The rover weighs 430 kilograms, has the size of a car and will be equipped with a neutron spectrometer, mass spectrometer, infrared spectrometer, and a one-meter-long drill.
The lunar rover will operate near the south pole of the moon, where it will be delivered using the Griffin descent module, which is also being developed by Astrobotic Technology.
On April 13, 2021, the VIPER developers announced that they had chosen the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle to deliver the Griffin module, which will carry the lunar rover, to the south pole of the moon.
The launch cost is 90 million and is scheduled to take place in November 2023 at the Kennedy Space Center.
It is expected that in 100 days of work, VIPER will compile a map of the distribution and concentration of water ice in the south pole of the Moon
The obtained data will help scientists when planning future manned flights to the Moon.