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Lunar All-Terrain Utility Vehicle for EVA

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
ProtoInnovations, LLC
5453 Albemarle Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1132
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Lunar All-Terrain Utility Vehicle for EVA
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX08CA03C
Award Amount: $599,400.00


ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to develop a new type of planetary rover called a Lunar All-terrain Utility Vehicle ("LATUV") to assist extra-vehicular activities in future lunar missions. The vehicle will operate unmanned or with an astronaut driving onboard. It will have a roughly 4 m2 footprint and be able to about twice as fast as an astronaut can walk on the Moon. The vehicle will feature four-wheel, all-terrain mobility with traction control. A multi-purpose tool interface and interchangeable cargo bays will support a variety of mission payloads. The LATUV will be used for mission such as site preparation, emplacing beacons, equipment and commodity distribution, and sampling. Our phase I work showed the feasibility of a new, high-efficiency, high duty, lunar-relevant traction drive system; a simplified steer / suspension chassis capable of handling 2 m/s speeds in lunar gravity; interchangeable utility modules for earthmoving, sampling, emplacing, etc.; and traction control software for earthmoving tasks as well as slope- and obstacle-climbing. In Phase II we will produce a terrestrial LATUV prototype with two rocker modules and two central modules designed for earthmoving the emplacing beacons. ProtoInnovations brings an impressive amount of experience to the task of designing the LATUV. Two of our robots built for NASA Ames, dubbed K10red and K10black, are operating in the high Canadian arctic. Working at Carnegie Mellon University, members of our team have developed robots to operate in some of the harshest environments on Earth: surveying Antarctic ice fields, traversing the Atacama Desert, and exploring into an Alaskan volcano. In total, our robots have traveled roughly 500 km through some of the most difficult terrain on Earth. We've accomplished these tasks by building robots that are, above all else, controllable and reliable. Our team has experience building all of the subsystems involved in this project.

Principal Investigator:

Stuart Heys
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Dimi Apostolopoulos
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

ProtoInnovations, LLC
1908 Shaw Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217

EIN/Tax ID: 251912230
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No