an explorer. In 2026, a starship the size of a Jeep will travel to the moon.

SpaceX had intended to send a rover the size of an SUV to the Moon after earning its first commercial contract for the cutting-edge Starship rocket. Even though the Starship rocket hasn’t yet completed an orbital test, the Flex lunar rover, designed by Astrolab, is scheduled to launch by 2026. Flex, according to Astrolab, is the most capable and comprehensive lunar rover ever dispatched, and it will also be used on prospective Mars missions.

When it is finished, the vehicle will be able to move two humans and cargo around the Moon’s surface at up to 24 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour), and it will also be able to operate a robotic arm.

The CEO of Astrolab, Jaret Matthews, said: “A robust logistics system that can handle a variety of commodities has been established. We think that using this approach will make it easier and faster than previously thought to establish a permanent lunar outpost on the Moon.”

The Flex rover is now undergoing testing on Earth by Astrolab, which involves moving both humans and cargo over the California desert while simulating lunar conditions.

The Starship testing procedure is also ongoing, and if the aviation regulatory authorities give their approval, the first orbital launch should take place later this month. A representative for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stated that SpaceX has not yet been granted permission to launch Starship into orbit.

A Starship prototype has completed a high-altitude flight test by SpaceX, even though several of the first tests ended in explosions.

Starship is slated to surpass all previous records for size when assembled on top of its launcher, reaching a height of 120 meters. The ultimate goal of SpaceX is to mass produce the reusable rocket system to start an independent human settlement on Mars.

“Starship is specifically intended to transport huge quantities of cargo, such as rovers to the Moon and Mars to allow research and exploration,” said Tom Ochinero, senior vice president of SpaceX’s commercial division.


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