Spacefarer & CubeRover Joint Lunar Rover Demonstration on Griffin-1

Mission Control and Astrobotic partner for joint rover demonstration mission on the Moon flying aboard the Griffin lander

Pittsburgh – April 8, 2024 – Mission Control and Astrobotic are partnering for a joint rover demonstration mission on the Moon. Astrobotic’s CubeRover™ integrated with Mission Control’s Spacefarer™ operations platform will travel to the lunar south pole on Astrobotic’s first upcoming Griffin lander mission. 

Astrobotic’s CubeRover is a scalable rover designed to traverse multiple kilometers across planetary bodies and accommodate a vast variety of payloads. Mission Control’s Spacefarer™ software platform will integrate with the shoebox-sized CubeRover to demonstrate commanding and monitoring of a lunar rover in real time.  

“We are delighted to form this partnership with Astrobotic who are among the forerunners driving the creation of a new lunar economy” said Dr. Samara Pillay, Vice-President of AI & Space Products at Mission Control. “Their trust in licensing our Spacefarer™ operations platform for a three-year period is an important validation of our value proposition to customers and we look forward to supporting them on many missions to come with this mission-critical technology.” 

This demonstration mission is being supported by a financial contribution from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) through their Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). This contribution is a critical enabler for Canadian companies to form partnerships with American counterparts leading the charge back to the Moon.

“CubeRover’s development has been backed by $20+ million in NASA awards and decades of experience. Because it has been engineered alongside Astrobotic’s lunar landers, CubeRover can achieve long-range communications and traverse multiple kilometers across the Moon’s surface. We’re pleased to have Spacefarer™ aboard this first mission to provide them with as much operations data as possible,” says Mike Provenzano, Astrobotic’s Vice President, Advanced Development Programs.

Spacefarer™ was developed with the support of the CSA’s Space Technology Development program. Designed to command and control a wide variety of robotics and advanced payloads, Spacefarer™ provides an intuitive and reliable web-based operations platform, user-friendly and flexible interfaces, and robust cloud architecture, to operate robots and payloads anywhere, anytime. 

“Having been the first Canadian owned company to participate in a real lunar rover mission, we’re thrilled to remain in our leadership position when it comes to lunar rover missions,” said Ewan Reid, Founder & CEO of Mission Control. “For decades Canada has been an international leader in space robotics and maintaining that position will require a continued expansion of the Canadian industrial base to support what is expected to be a rapidly growing lunar economy.” 

“This international partnership exemplifies the benefits of a commercial approach to lunar exploration and a validation of the emerging cis-lunar economy,” said Provenzano. “NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative and LEAP are putting North American firms at the forefront of humanity’s return to the Moon.”  

Astrobotic is scheduled to launch its Griffin lunar lander no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2024 making this one of the first in a wave of commercial missions to the Moon.