It is a long way to develop the necessary hardware and systems for a successful GLXP mission. There will be several iterations in this process: for us, Iteration 1 delivered the overall main concepts and first simple demonstration hardware pieces for two of our rover concepts. Since November 2010 we are busy with our second step: the Iteration 2/Hunveyor 15 project, which we intend to finish by August/September this year.
The Hunveyor program, led by Szaniszló Bérczi, took NASA's Surveyor spacecraft – seven Surveyors were sent to the Moon between 1966 and 1968, five of them landed smooth successfully, two crashed – as a basis to teach university students about planetary science and space probes at the same time. Started in 1997, various groups – amongst them you will find even secondary school guys! – have developed interesting scenarios, which were reported regularly at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conferences of the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
It is a great honour for us make the newest member of the Hunveyor-series, number 15. This we do in our second GLXP iteration step, thus the name Iteration 2/Hunveyor 15.
The objective of the “Iteration 2/Hunveyor 15” project is to design and build a moon lander unit – surface rover system for experimental and demonstrational purposes. The system will be designed in a way that will help the further development of a larger, more complex, space-grade system that shall work to satisfy the Google Lunar X-Prize criteria:
To safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to Earth.
In every project we have lots of housework to do – we start with the definition of the objectives and scope of the project, then go further to set up the project elements and the system overview, pin down various requirements of the system in detail, determine the Concept of Operations, and make some housekeeping work for the project itself. Here we want to give a first glimpse on what we want to see at the end of Iteration 2/Hunveyor 15 – and this is described best in the Concept of Operations, or ConOps.
The ConOps determines how the system will operate during the mission itself. For Iteration 2 the mission is the integrated test run of the Lander-Rover-Mission Control-Landing Site Modeling system, which we are developing right now.
Image: Engineering Aspects of Lunar Environment Modeling
How could such a ConOps look like?
The rover and lander shall be placed at the landing site starting point. The lander releases the Human Base Modul (HBM) that inflates. (In Iteration 2 / Hunveyor 15 we shall use a pressurized balloon to model an inflatable Moon base.) After inflation the HBM starts recording temperature, pressure and radiation data. Meanwhile, the radiation sensor placed by the lander also starts recording data. All data are sent to Mission Control.
The rover will move 500 meters through obstacles built by Landing Site Modeling (LASM). The radiation sensor mounted on the rover records data and sends it back to Mission Control. Meanwhile, both lander and rover shall record LASM Cast (See below).
The following ConOps scenario is based on the GLXP Mooncast requirements (Arrival and Mission Complete Mooncasts). These requirements are adapted to Iteration 2 to help gaining experience with developed systems, to help the testing process and the development of the Mooncast Content Plan required by GLXP. This adapted version includes elements from both Arrival and Mission Complete Mooncasts, and is named LASM (Landing Site Model) Cast.
The LASM Cast shall contain at least the following GLXP Mooncast requirements:
● Recording of the rovers exploration of the surface.
● Recording of completion of mission requirements.
● Minimum at least 8 minutes of dynamic video (Near Real Time, High Definition) - some while
rover is moving, displaying the logo cluster.
● Panoramic photos yielding a full 360º view of the landing site, including the horizon.
● Panoramic photograph showing the craft at the end of the 500 meter journey and centered
about the horizon.
● A minimum of one image of the rover including the GLXP Logo Cluster.
● An image showing the XPF Payload on rover.
● A minimum of one portrait image of the rover visible from the end of the 500 meter journey.
In addition, the LASM Cast could contain the inflation of the HBM.
Of course, during the project we are developing a more detailed ConOps: a time ordered sequence of operational steps; and a LASM script specifying e.g. what the lander imaging unit is recording, what the rover imaging unit is recording, etc., all in accordance with our mission requirements.
You see there is a lot of interesting stuff even in a seemingly “dry” phase of the project. Watch out for more, we shall report on our progress regularly; we are also preparing a detailed presentation of the Hunveyor program, so stay tuned, exciting new stuff is coming soon!
Anett Krammer and Tibor Pacher
Last Updated (Wednesday, 04 May 2011 14:19)