Active Electromechanical Suspension System for Planetary Rovers

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10RA82P
Agency Tracking Number: 090092
Amount: $99,992.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: T1.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
10532 Grand Oak Circle, Austin, TX, 78750-3851
DUNS: 260679384
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Joseph Beno
 Principal Investigator
 (512) 918-1496
Business Contact
 Joseph Beno
Title: President & CEO
Phone: (512) 918-1496
Research Institution
 University of Texas, Center for Electromechanics
 Joseph Beno
 P.O. Box 7726
Austin, TX, 78713
 (512) 918-1496
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Balcones Technologies, LLC proposes to adapt actively controlled suspension technology developed by The University of Texas at Austin Center for Electromechanics (CEM) for high performance off-road vehicles to address STTR 2009-1 Subtopic T1.02, Information Technologies for Intelligent Planetary Robots. In particular, our team will develop a concept design for an actively controlled ElectroMechanical Suspension (EMS) system, including algorithms, software and hardware, that dramatically improves mobility for MER to MSL scale rovers. Our system exploits and adapts approximately $25M of highly successful active suspension R&D at CEM since 1993. It also exploits CEM's experience developing electromechanical systems for space applications gained during NASA funded programs to develop flywheel energy storage system technology for the International Space Station. Finally, it exploits our team's extensive experience migrating University technology to commercially viable manufacturable products. Relevant features of our anticipated solution include: • Capable of vehicle speeds exceeding 3 m/s over lunar relevant terrain while maintaining hyper-stability for payloads of 100 kg or more • Large suspension travel to enable obstacle negotiation • Control system that can operate autonomously or slaved to higher level vehicle controller for specialized operations such as obstacle negotiation • Four quadrant actuator control, capable of power regeneration for damping operations to improve system efficiency • Passive springs to support rover static weight (no power consumption to support static weight) • Highly efficient electromechanical suspension actuators for each wheel station, individually sized to support a high proportion of vehicle mass to enable obstacle negotiation • Modular control system, based on our highly successful control system for terrestrial manned and unmanned vehicles • Scalable technology for rover sizes representative of MER to MSL rovers

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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