Progress on Rover Suspension and Drive System
This week we have an update from our NASA Academy Intern Team Lead, Allen Bordelon:
Since the NASA Robotics Academy intern team arrived at Dynetics, we have been hard at work supporting Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) risk reduction and prototyping efforts. Our task this summer is to design and test a suspension and drive system for the RCSP Lunar Rover. We decided to build a full rover prototype in order to test our design concept. After a successful System Design Review (SDR) we began ordering parts and completed drawings for components to be manufactured.
We utilized off-the-shelf electronics for our rover prototype, but most of the mechanical parts are unique, custom designs. To manufacture the custom components, we utilized Dynetics’ machine shop. There we had several components, including the armatures and wheels, fabricated from plastic using a 3D printer, and other components were machined and welded. As components arrived over the past weeks, construction of our rover began.
The construction process went very quickly and even smoother than expected. Initial checkouts went well for the rover, with only minor setbacks that had to be overcome. Over the next two weeks we will be testing the rover on a lunar terrain simulator. We will be testing operational parameters including stability, climbing, turning, and speed. The results of this testing will provide valuable information as to how the rover will function in a lunar environment.