This NASA Crew Carrier Vehicle Concept Was An Aluminum Masterpiece

NASA recently looked for a new crew transport vehicle. The space agency recently awarded a contract to startup EV Canoo to build a vehicle to transport astronauts to the launch pad for Artemis missions. However, that’s not to say that the other designs submitted to NASA weren’t good; the Oxcart Assembly effort is particularly catchy.

Ox cart assembly brand itself as a “decentralized and multidisciplinary cooperative” which mainly worked on audiovisual projects so far, including the production of motion graphics for NASA and SpaceX’s Launch America missions. When work began on the concept of a crew transport vehicle, the agency called on partners to help. The Hoonigans and Airstream were enlisted for their vehicular experience, while IBM and Red Hat contributed to the project’s “human-centered design approach”.

The concept draws heavily from Airstream’s shiny aluminum design language, as seen so often on the company’s camper trailers. The high-efficiency vehicle relies on an electric drive, in line with NASA’s requirement that submissions be zero-emission vehicles.

The design features airless tires, giving it a futuristic look that wouldn’t look out of place on a distant planet. There’s also a rear cutout and a reduced front bumper design meant to maximize approach and departure angles to improve off-road capability.

Of course, the crew carrier is not something that will leave Earth. Instead, it’s tasked with ferrying astronauts from NASA’s Operations Building and checkouts to the Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad, a distance of just 10 miles. The designs had to have a range of at least 50 miles, seat eight people inside, and feature nearly 60 cubic feet of cargo storage. To perform its role adequately, the vehicles also had to be capable of an eight-hour shift with the use of HVAC for heating or cooling as needed.

The Oxcart Assembly design was a finalist in the award process, according to the company, although it states that “ultimately it came down to a price differential of $1145”. While we won’t see this proud silver steed in future NASA launches, it’s nice to take a look at what might have been. That said, it seems likely that Canoo will deliver its own impressive vehicle to transport astronauts in style.

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