Hit the books: How NASA selected the first lunar rover to Scoot through the moon

Hit the books How NASA selected the first lunar rover to Scoot through the moon

The concept of space travel was so new for us that when President Kennedy issued his famous Moonshot speech, not even NASA’s best scientists were completely sure that we could land on the lunar surface. Some thought that any craftsmanship that was put there simply would sink into the regolith of the moon, as if it were a massive and airlessly quicksand well! In his last book, through the savages without air: the Lunar Rover and the triumph of Fulbright Fulbright landings, journalists, Earl SWIFT, examine the OFT ignored to Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions, our latest trips to Moon. Surface (at least until the Artemis project is carried out). In the extract then SWIFT takes the reader to a journey through the hyper-rigorous JPL, crushing the lunar course and the battle for the Rover supremacy is waged there between GM and Bendix.

In 1962 and in 1963, both GM and Bendix kept the Topographers Program. Sure, reaches the summer, the reaction propulsion laboratory established its one hundred pound requirements, a remote-controlled rover that you wanted to hide aboard the landers. The vehicle would explore the Lurrain until a mile from the topographers, while their drivers back on the ground guided him with the eyes of television. The planning of laboratory alert companies that plan to bid in the design study of phase 1, the first normal stage of any new hardware program, which is expected to provide engineering models of their concepts. The proposals were due in seven weeks.

The short deadline eliminated the dilettorates. In October, the two companies left foot-GM and Bendix, they started working under contract. GM was ready with its six-wheeled design. Its surveyor, the lunar wavy vehicle was six feet long on eighteen-inch wheels and weighed ninety pounds, half the size and half again as heavy as their test bed, with only one condition that was no less fall from the jaw . In the “lunarial” of the rocks, the craters and the slopes of pavils outside the laboratory of Santa Barbara, rose forty-five degrees, jumped twenty inches, and leaned up and more than thirty inches.

Bekker and Pavílicos had been working on the idea for more than three years by then. Its main advance this time: the wheels. Once again, they were made of wire, but he knotted in a wide mesh that resembled the chain-link and forms in fat donuts. Like the former wire tires of the team, they were diverted when they hit an obstacle and absorbed some of the protuberances of travel throughout the country. They worked with or without a cloth cover.

“We had a great program to try to reach the wire material that would survive the vacuum environment on the Moon,” John Calandro recalled. “Frank had devised a test device that created the vacuum environment we needed.”

When fully prepared for a mission, the Rover would be an electronic wonder, with subsystems supplied by RCA Astro-Electronics and AC Electronics, a GM division in Milwaukee: I would have a platform of stereo television images, sailing and sophisticated control, and silver-zinc batteries recharged by solar panel. But the Santa Barbara part of work, the vehicle itself, was a study by doing more with less. The hardware was constantly “evaluated to see if something simpler might be able to do the same work,” the designer Norman J. James would remember. “‘The part that has left it, never breaks” was a often repeated phrase. “

Bendix took a radically different approach. The SLRV of him was a square robot, two-part, articulated, with curves, blow-absorbing legs in their corners that ended up in small track assemblies of caterpillars. The tracks launch independently to follow unequal terrain. The manipulators of him guided him with commands for slow, accelerated or reversing the tracks on one side or on the other, and the pivot linking the two halves did the rest. On the Moon, he would be driven by a thermal generator of radioisotopes, a small nuclear device, hanging from the back, and sows with instruments and scientific antennas. He weighed one hundred pounds.

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