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Mission Manager Update: VIPER Rover Approved to Move into Environmental Testing!

Engineers test the VIPER rover's wheel movement and rotation in a clean room at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Engineers test the VIPER rover’s wheel movement and rotation in a clean room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA/Helen Arase Vargas

While NASA’s VIPER team has been focused on building the flight rover that will go to the South Pole of the Moon, the team has also been making preparations for environmental testing of the rover. 

In April, the VIPER team passed a System Test Readiness Review, exploring the readiness of the facilities, procedures, and staff to move into stress-testing the VIPER rover.

These environmental tests are important because they force our rover to experience the conditions it will see during launch, landing, and in the thermal environment of operating at the lunar South Pole. Specifically, acoustic testing will simulate the harsh, vibrational “rock concert” experience of launch, while thermal-vacuum testing will expose VIPER to the hottest and coldest temperatures it will see during the mission, all while operating in the vacuum of space. It’s a tough business, but we have to make sure we’re up for it.

Thanks to this team for the hard efforts to get to this important phase in mission readiness!


– Dan Andrews, VIPER Project Manager