Thesis Proposal by Chris Follette on May 13th
Space Studies master’s student, Chris Follette, will give his thesis proposal presentation as follows. All Space Studies students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.
When: Friday, May 13th at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Clifford Hall, Room 521 (conference room)
Title: Design and Construction of a Robotic Vehicle to Assist Human Planetary Surface Operations
About the topic: In the near future, astronauts will again explore planetary surfaces throughout the Solar System. In order to perform at their peak, these astronauts will need to utilize all of the tools at their disposal. It is proposed in this thesis that one such tool is a planetary surface rover designed and built specifically to assist the astronauts during their Extra-Vehicular-Activities (EVA’s). This remote-controlled rover is designed and built to operate in concert with the existing analog planetary surface infrastructure at the University of North Dakota (UND). This rover incorporates ideas from the Lunar Roving Vehicle used in the Apollo missions and design elements from modern all-terrain vehicles. This rover will be remote controlled by an astronaut located on the planetary surface, enabling real-time operation. The rover will act primarily as a relay for audio and video communication between the astronauts in the field and the Inflatable Lunar Habitat (ILH), or another planetary outpost. This rover will also be designed to have storage for tools and samples, freeing the astronauts from the tedious and physically demanding task of carrying these items for long distances while encumbered by an EVA suit.
About the presenter: Chris Follette has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University. During his undergraduate career he was a member of a team that designed and built a Mini Baja off-road racing vehicle for a national competition in Bellingham, Washington. This experience assisted with the design and construction of the rover, allowing the design and manufacturing philosophies used in terrestrial all-terrain vehicles to be incorporated into the tele-operated rover. Since joining the Space Studies department in the spring of 2014, Chris has worked with Dr. Pablo de León in the Human Spaceflight Laboratory and with Dr. Ron Fevig in the high altitude ballooning program. During this time, Chris has assisted with the department’s first 30-day analog mission in the Inflatable Lunar Habitat, developed a new mobile ground station for balloon tracking, helped with the 2014 and 2015 Near Space Balloon Competitions, as well as other high altitude balloon launches and various science outreach events. During the summer of 2014 Chris was an intern at Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, CA where he was able to work on many prototype systems that were tested at various NASA centers around the country.
This presentation will not be available as a webcast.