Press Release
25.06.2018

CubeRover and Space Nation Debut the World’s First Commercial Rover

PITTSBURGH, PA, USA; HELSINKI, FINLAND

Space Nation, Astrobotic, and CubeRover announce today a successful partnership in the development of CubeRover’s technology and Space Nation’s inaugural astronaut summit held in Námaskarð, Iceland.

Space Nation aims to make space and astronaut experiences accessible to everyone, with the long term goals of sending everyday people to space. The organization became one step closer to its mission this May through the launch of its first Astronaut Adventure and it used a CubeRover to simulate realistic planetary operations. The CubeRover was operated in a terrain similar to the Martian landscape, in an area near the former Apollo astronaut training ground. Using a radio controller the CubeRover traversed across the rocky landscape transmitting video through a nearby monitor that was delayed by several seconds. This telecommand exercise was an accurate representation of what human operators can expect to experience here on Earth when teleoperating a CubeRover on a lunar or planetary surface. While the Moon is the first destination charted for the CubeRover, the rocky environment in Namaskard served as a test condition to mimic nominal conditions on Mars. “Getting the opportunity to train with an actual CubeRover was a great experience for our participants” says Mazdak Nassir, CCO and co-founder of Space Nation. “It provided them with a very realistic experience of what our trainees can expect in the future, both in training on Earth and on actual extraterrestrial missions.” The telecommand delay is a circumstance that cannot be avoided given the distance of planetary objects and the speed that light travels. Scenarios such as these provide valuable information that can only be acquired through testing, such as depth perception and hazard avoidance.

“Although our prototype was tested in a different environment than on the lunar surface, it traversed the terrain for Space Nation’s mission exactly as we had hoped it would,” says Andrew Tallaksen, CubeRover Systems Engineering Lead. “We are encouraged by the interest CubeRover has attracted from the global space community and are excited by the wave of commercial demand from governments, companies, and universities that wish to engage with the Moon,” says Mike Provenzano, CubeRover President. Terrestrial training rovers such as these provide excellent training and preparation for real flight operations and are a great way to motivate the international community about space education. “Imagine the excitement from a child that can log in and operate a rover from across the country that is destined for the Moon—it’s a powerful message that was never available until now.”

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About Astrobotic and CubeRover
Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals. The company’s spacecraft accommodates multiple customer payloads on a single flight, offering flexibility at an industry-defining low price of $1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic is an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST program, has 24 past and ongoing NASA contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, a corporate sponsorship with DHL, 12 deals for its first mission to the Moon, and 110 customer payloads in the pipeline for upcoming missions. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

Astrobotic is developing a new product line called CubeRover. CubeRovers are commercializing and democratizing access to planetary and lunar surfaces. Akin to CubeSats, CubeRovers use standardized off-the-shelf components, and are capable of capturing lunar and planetary data at a fraction of historical prices. Modularity and low product costs make CubeRover the premier robotic platform for science applications for government agencies, corporations, and universities.

About Space Nation

Founded in 2013 and based in Helsinki, Finland, Space Nation is pioneering humanity’s transition to the new space era by providing space experiences for global audiences. Space Nation has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, has its own “office space” at the International Space Station and is the first space tourism company to become an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Space Nation broke the Finnish crowdfunding recording in 2017 by raising the first €1M in just 43 minutes, and has over 500 private investors.

Space Nation’s partners and advisors include Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space; John Barbera, former president of Turner Broadcasting Sales & 24/7 Realmedia; and Peter Vesterbacka, founder of the startup and tech event Slush in Helsinki and former Mighty Eagle at Rovio Entertainment, the creator of Angry Birds.

Connect with Space Nation:
https://spacenation.org/
https://twitter.com/spacenation
https://www.facebook.com/spacenationorg
https://www.instagram.com/spacenationorg/

For more information, please contact:
Hjörtur Smárason, PR Director, Space Nation
hjortur@spacenation.org, tel: +45 2280 1416

Carolyn Pace, Business Development and Customer Relations, Astrobotic Inc.
carolyn.pace@astrobotic.com, tel: +1-412-682-3282

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