Astrobotic Wins $34.6M NASA Tipping Point Partnership for Lunar Power Transmission Demonstration

By Sophia Francise

July 27, 2023

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh-based robotics company, Astrobotic, announced that they had won a NASA Tipping Point partnership worth $34.6M to demonstrate power transmission on the lunar surface.

The award will go towards a demonstration on the Moon called LunaGrid-Lite, which is a technology that will allow power to be transmitted from a lunar lander to a tethered rover.

An Astrobotic lunar lander will unreel 1 km of cable for this demonstration using an Astrobotic 6U CubeRover.

It will then receive the first high-voltage power transmitted across the moon’s surface through a cable.

The demonstration will act as a testbed for Astrobotic’s LunaGrid service, which will supply commercial power delivery by the Watt to future lunar prospects.[1]

“LunaGrid-Lite will pave the way for power generation and distribution services on the Moon and change the game for lunar surface systems like landers, rovers, habitats, science suites, and in-situ resource utilization pilot plants. With renewable, uninterrupted commercial power service, both crewed and robotic operations can be made sustainable for long-term operations,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Astrobotic, John Thornton.

What is Astrobotic’s LunaGrid-Lite system?

The LunaGrid-Lite, which was announced in September 2022, is a commercial power generation and distribution service for the moon, aiming to create long-term infrastructure on the lunar surface. 

The LunaGrid project combines solar arrays with tethered rovers to deliver uninterrupted power to customers on the lunar surface. 

The power is generated by Vertical Solar Array Technology (VSAT) arrays, optimized for lunar pole operations and is distributed to users through tethered rovers, based on the company’s CubeRover design. 

It uses wireless charging technology to transfer the power from the rover to the customer’s surface asset. 

The lander’s solar arrays will serve as the VSAT in the LunaGrid-Lite demo’s power generation. 


Immediately after landing, a CubeRover carrying a spool of custom cable will exit the lander and spread the cable throughout the lunar surface. 

The system will then use the cable to send the CubeRover 1 kW of power generated by the lander’s solar panels. 

The system’s performance will be evaluated and confirmed by sensors spread throughout the payload.

The company is working to deliver the 6U CubeRover on a scheduled Astrobotic lander mission as early as 2026.

This will advance three crucial gap technologies—a high voltage power converter, cable, and cable stowage and deployment system—to push LunaGrid, Astrobotic’s lunar power service, past the commercial tipping point.

Astrobotic, which was chosen among 11 other NASA awardees, anticipates deploying LunaGrid before the end of the decade to start supporting the Artemis program, CLPS, foreign space agencies, and private enterprises on the Moon. 


  1. Astrobotic Technology, ‘Astrobotic Wins $34.6M for Power Demo Mission on the Moon’, 25 July 2023,[]