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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CubeRover is a class of planetary rover with a standardized modular format meant to accelerate the pace of space exploration. The idea is equivalent to that of the successful CubeSat format, with standardized off-the-shelf components and architecture to assemble small units that will be all compatible, modular, and inexpensive.[1]

The rover class concept is being developed by Astrobotic Technology in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, and it is partly funded by NASA awards.[1] The Principal Investigator of the program is Andrew Horchler. In June 2019, Astrobotic Technology was awarded US$79.5 million to carry 14 payloads to the moon, including a CubeRover in July 2021.[2] This would make Carnegie Mellon University the first university in the world to fully develop a lunar rover and the first American entity to successfully pilot an unmanned lunar vehicle.[2]

Overview

Concept

The idea is to create a practical modular concept similar that used for CubeSats and apply it to rovers, effectively creating a new standardized architecture of small modular planetary rovers with compatible parts, systems, and even instruments so that each mission can be easily tailored to its objectives.[1][3][4] The rovers are expendable and do not use solar arrays for electrical power, depending solely on non-rechargeable batteries. This allows it to be lighter, have a larger cooling radiator panel for electronics, and have a simpler avionics design.[5]

The CubeRover program intends that standardizing small rover design with a common architecture will open access to planetary bodies for companies, governments, and universities around the world at a low cost, while increasing functionality, just as the CubeSat has in Earth orbit.[3] This would motivate other members of the space exploration community to develop new systems and instruments that are all compatible with the CubeRover's architecture.[1][3]

Development

Andy
Mission typeTechnology demonstrator
OperatorAstrobotic Lab and Carnegie Mellon University
Websitewww.astrobotic.com
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftAndy[6][7]
Spacecraft typeRobotic lunar rover
BusCubeRover
ManufacturerPlanetary Robotics Lab[8]
Dry mass33 kg (73 lb)[8]
DimensionsHeight: 103 cm[8]
Power100 W from 0.5 m2 solar panel[8]
Start of mission
Launch date2021 on the Peregrine lander[2]
RocketAtlas V
Moon rover
Landing sitePlanned: Lacus Mortis
Transponders
BandWi-Fi
Instruments
Two cameras with 1936 × 1456 resolution
 

In May 2017 Astrobotic Technology, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, were selected by NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) to receive a $125,000 award[9] to develop a small lunar rover architecture capable of performing small-scale science and exploration on the Moon and other planetary surfaces. During Phase I, the team built a 2-kg rover and performed engineering studies to determine the architecture of a novel chassis, power, computing systems, software and navigation techniques.

In March 2018, the team was awarded funds to move on to Phase II,[1][3] and under this agreement, Astrobotic will produce a flight-ready rover with a mass of approximately 2 kg (4.4 lb) that will fly on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander to the Moon in 2021.[2]

In future missions, CubeRovers may be designed to take advantage of lander-based systems to shelter for the cold lunar night, that lasts for 14 Earth days.[3] Similarly, future larger CubeRovers may be able to incorporate thermal insulation and systems qualified for ultra-low temperatures.[3]

A spinoff company was created in 2018, called CubeRover, and it is based in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.[10] Its president is Mike Provenzano. The company has support from Luxemburg and it is expected to collaborate with local universities and companies.[11][12] It is hoped that it will become a hub for small planetary rover design, manufacture, and assembly, as well as a shop.

The first derivative of a CubeRover, a spinoff rover called Iris developed by CMU students, is planned to be deployed on the Moon in 2021 on board Astrobotic's Peregrine lander.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Campbell, Lloyd (18 March 2018). "Astrobotic wins NASA award to produce small lunar rover". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on 2019-08-14.
  2. ^ a b c d "Carnegie Mellon Robot, Art Project To Land on Moon in 2021". Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. June 6, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Leonard, David (16 March 2018). "This Tiny Private CubeRover Could Reach the Moon by 2020". Space.com.
  4. ^ Jost, Kevin (8 May 2018). "Astrobotic to develop CubeRover standard for planetary surface mobility". Autonomous Vehicle Technology.
  5. ^ CubeRover – 2-kg Lunar Rover. Andrew Tallaksen's blog, lead systems engineer for CubeRover. 2018.
  6. ^ "Moon Shot" Web Series Profiles GLXP Teams. Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. April 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Carnegie Mellon Unveils Lunar Rover "Andy". Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. November 24, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Andy — CMU". CMU Planetary Robotics. Archived from the original on 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  9. ^ Cuberover for Lunar Resource Site Evaluation. SBIR, US Government. Accessed on 8 December 2018.
  10. ^ Latrell, Joe (2 October 2018). "Astrobotic spins out CubeRover, opens offices in Luxembourg". Spaceflight Insider.
  11. ^ Foust, Jeff (29 September 2018). "Three American space startups to establish offices in Luxembourg". SpaceNews.
  12. ^ Hebden, Kerry (8 October 2018). "CubeRover to develop low-cost, revolutionary rover in Luxembourg". Asgardia.
  13. ^ Spice, Byron (14 May 2020). "Iris Lunar Rover Meets Milestone for Flight". Carnegie Mellon University News. Retrieved 31 May 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 May 2021, at 14:41
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