Design of a Compact and Lightweight Lunar Vehicle

Battisti, Charles
Garcia, Anthony
Sandberg, Lori
VanHoosen, Elizabeth
NASA proposed a competition to design, fabricate, and race a vehicle capable of traversing difficult terrain, based on the original moon buggy, which was first used in 1971 by Apollo 15 astronauts. This challenge required participants to assemble a two-person human-powered vehicle that was collapsible within a confined space, lightweight, maneuverable, and safe. Our moon buggy placed the riders back-to-back with the front rider steering and both riders having the capability to brake. As part of the NASA competition, two members of the team were required to carry the moon buggy twenty feet; thus a lightweight vehicle was desired. This was accomplished using lightweight steel tubing for the frame. To meet the space requirement a hinge mechanism was designed to allow the moon buggy to collapse. Added safety features included were seat belts and maintaining a fifteen inch ground clearance for the riders. A telescoping back axel was developed to increase stability of the moon buggy since the NASA race track had varying terrain with up to thirty-degree inclines. Our vehicle was designed to fit all NASA standards while also including innovations, which increased speed, mobility, and maintained a lightweight structure.
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