Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Canadian Lunar Exploration Light Rover prototype

Stylized View of the Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR) Design, Figure 3 from "A Canadian Lunar Exploration Light Rover Prototype," McCoubry & Langley, et al, (Sept. 2012).
McCoubrey & Langley, et al
MacDonald, Dettwiler, and Associates, CANADA
Centre de technologies avancées BRP – Universite de Sherbrooke
University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies


In 2010, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) commenced the Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR) project as part of its Exploration Surface Mobility program. The LELR project consists of building rovers, integrating them with tools and instruments, and executing representative mission deployments. The LELR is designed for mobility tasks related to science prospecting, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and future upgrades for crew transportation. The vehicle is based on a rugged, custom mobility platform built by Bombardier Recreational Products Centre for Advanced Technology.

Onboard sensors provide feedback and situational awareness for tele-operation, autonomy, and onboard control (future upgrade). Modular onboard software is used to ensure future upgradeability, and offers such features as localization without external aids and visual teach and repeat software developed by the University of Toronto. Future work may involve adding onboard human control, further integration with payloads and deployments in coordination with the international space exploration community.

Figure 2: "Artist’s Concept of the Lunar Exploration Light Rover’s Various Mission Configurations."
In the context of returning systems to the surface of the Moon, there have been several recent developments in the area of Lunar mobility. The Chariot rover is a large-class system designed to carry astronauts and perform regolith moving tasks such as bulldozing. The Eurobot Ground Prototype (EGP) rover is a medium-class system designed to accomplish both science exploration and transport of a single standing astronaut. The Scarab rover is a small-class rover designed to carry resource prospecting instruments and sensors. The goal of the Lunar Exploration Rover (LELR) program is to develop a mobility solution that can accomplish all of these tasks and thereby provide a flexible and versatile platform for development and testing including integration with exploration tools and instruments. This will then allow development and simulation of analogue mission scenarios. The LELR vehicle is a key part of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Exploration Surface Mobility program.

The remainder of this paper will discuss the mission scenarios used to define the LELR requirements, the LELR design, and the current program status and upcoming test plan.

View the full paper, HERE.

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1 comment:

Roger McCoubrey said...

My name is Roger McCoubrey. I am wondering if the McCoubrey mentioned here is any relation to me?