Thing Report

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RISD's entry into the 2017 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, an annual competition held at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama‍

Retro-direct Drive

The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge was originally conceived in 1994 to mimic the challenges that Apollo engineers faced when designing the first ‘Moonbuggy’. As a senior that has been a part of the RISD Rover club since 2015, I had the privilege of leading and coordinating the design of the 2017 iteration of the vehicle.

Milled Billet

The year-long project consisted of about a dozen students working as a team to design, build, and test a two-person human powered vehicle. Techniques include manual milling and turning, CNC machining, casting, brazing, welding and composite lay-ups with complex surfaces. Particular attention was paid to the geometry and ergonomics of the seating and steering, the creativity of the wheels (which were required to be non-pneumatic), and optimizing the durability-weight tradeoff of the vehicle.

Retro-direct Drive
Front Chain Drive
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Final results include taking 2nd Place in the collegiate division, winning the Featherweight Award by finishing with the lightest rover, winning the Technology Challenge Award through our innovative wheel design and the AIAA Best Report Award for most insightful analysis of both design and process.

Retro-direct Drive

Faculty Advisor: Michael Lye

Credit: Jason Chang, Lily Douglas, Sung Wha Kang, Max Reice, Adrian Roop, Iman Serag, Carmen Schweizer, Ryan Smith, Clarke Waskowitz, Clayton Wiggers