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MARS2013, first week: rover arrives to Morocco, team arrives to the new MCC

Since our last report, the Puli rover has safely arrived to the MARS2013 test field and completed its first runs. Although we have two team members on site to escort it, the rover is controlled remotely from the Mission Control Center, located at the City Hall of Budapest. We are delighted to report that the first runs were a great success!

Landfall at Morocco – the field crew in the eyes of the Puli rover.

We sent off the rover to Morocco, but the preparations for the MARS2013 mission were far from over. Just like for “big” robotic missions, the various protocols, situations, and the chain of command were tested and re-tested. Roles were defined and flowcharts were created. The Mission Control includes a Flight Director, the almighty ruler of the room, a Rover Driver, who actually sends commands to the rover, a Telemetry Person, who watches and evaluates every line of the incoming telemetry, including images, an IT guy who keeps the systems running, an ÖWFCom to communicate with the ÖWF, a Media person to manage the general press duties and Hot spares, who can take over the previous roles, if need be.

Mission Control preparations


Thanks to our sponsors, the team also managed to assemble a second, identical rover, and was able to practice the driving, navigation and other Mission Control duties, before the real deal began.

Incoming telemetry: “Practice is hard. Second rover needs coffee.”


The final Puli Space Mission Control for the MARS2013 was set up at the City Hall, thanks to the generous invitation of István Tarlós, the Mayor of Budapest. The City Hall provides room, accessories and a secure environment for the team during the MARS2013 mission. The cooperation was announced during a press conference on the 8th of February.

Dr Tibor Pacher, Puli Space team leader and founder, announces the cooperation with the City Hall of Budapest.

Once the two delegated team members arrived to the test site in Morocco, we began the first test runs. The Mission Control and the field crew made various checkouts, including camera geometry and navigation measurements, mapping the wireless signal strength and communications capabilities around the camp. And of course we did some driving too. The rover withstood these tests very well and made us all very proud. Check out the rest of the photos below. Coming up next week: driving the rover in the wild, and perhaps even doing a science there!

Working hard at the Mission Control

We have received plenty of IT help from Telenor Hungary

Puli rover No. 1 on the field...

...and his sibling at the press conference.

HungaroControl is a Silver Sponsor of the MARS2013 mission of Team Puli Space.

Air traffic controllers of HungaroControl guarantee safe traffic for almost 600 thousand aircrafts in the upper airspace and at the Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport every year. State-of-the-art technology, advanced development and services make HungaroControl one of the most accurate, efficient and reliable providers of international air traffic control.

Telenor Hungary Plc provided the team with various IT devices: most importantly, two notebooks for the Flight Director and the Rover Driver and five higsh-speed (LTE) dongles for alternate broadband access, in case of network or power outages and other emergency situations.

S&T Consulting Hungary Ltd, our first Gold Sponsor provided us with licences and support for the Creo CAD/CAM/CAE engineering software suite that was essential to design and build the Puli rover.


Image sources:

1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8.) Puli Space
4. 9. 10.) Mihály Majtényi, budapest.hu

Last Updated (Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:22)

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