BOSCH, Texas—March 10, 2020—Racing car manufacturer and manufacturer of the Formula One world championship team, Lotus, has announced it will send its Formula One team to space by 2020 to support the NASA Ames Research Center.
Lotus is the largest and most experienced F1 team in the world.
In addition to being the team’s primary customer, Lotus also is the world’s largest manufacturer of F1 racing car parts.
“Lotus is committed to the success of the sport of Formula One by building the very best cars and chassis for our drivers and our team,” said Lotus CEO Richard Branson.
“We will help NASA and its mission to the Moon and beyond.
We are proud to support our NASA Ames team and will be working closely with them as they move forward with their mission to Mars.”
NASA Ames is an advanced laboratory designed to help the agency improve its ability to investigate, understand, and produce science for the benefit of humanity.
The space agency is developing and testing advanced space-based technologies to support missions to the International Space Station and the International Earth Observatories, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA Ames currently employs more than 50 people.
Lotus’ mission to space is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021, and Lotus expects to have a team of about 30 drivers, engineers, and technicians on board.
NASA has awarded the team a $5 million contract for the mission.
“The Lotus team is a unique and exciting group of individuals who have a unique set of skills, experience, and enthusiasm for motorsport and space exploration,” said NASA Ames Program Manager David Meehan.
“They have an exciting vision of racing in space and the opportunity to drive for Lotus and other teams in the future.”
The Lotus team will participate in a mission to NASA’s Ames Research and Technology Center (ARMEC) in Mountain View, California, to build the spacecraft for the International Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars 2020 rover.
The team’s mission will begin with the development of a rover that will eventually be used to drive the rover on Mars and return samples of soil and other Martian rocks.
The mission to ARMEC will also involve the development and flight of a high-performance rocket motor for the Mars 2020 mission.
NASA is working with a number of companies and organizations to test a suite of new technologies, including liquid oxygen-powered liquid hydrogen engines, fuel cells for space-plane engines, and solar electric propulsion for Mars rovers.