When it comes to humans exploring space, the iconic Space Shuttle is one of the first images that comes to mind for many. Although the Space Shuttle programme first began in 1981 and only lasted for three decades, during this period NASA utilised it frequently. Accompanying the Space Shuttle itself was the lengthy silver Astrovan, transporting astronauts to and from the launch pad. While the original modified Airstream retired along with the shuttles, automotive designer Alex Baldini Imnadze has created a concept that pays tribute to the silver Astrovan.
Imnadze’s version of the Astrovan also doubles as a mobile shuttle command centre; the six-wheeled van is also striking in white, which fits well with the current NASA branding. Overall the van cuts a clean and futuristic shape, especially with its unique window design and LED light bars. The rear mirrors have also been replaced by cameras for a minimalistic look.
Imnadze hasn’t included any imagery of the interior of the van, but we imagine it would be based on the Astrovan in the video below, which is spacious and offers a sense of ceremony that connects the team to the immense task at hand during the roughly 20-minute journey. It seems unlikely that NASA will create another Astrovan anytime soon – for the last mission, astronauts were taken to the site in a Tesla Model X.