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Slideshow: Great Space Rovers
11/20/2012

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During the development of the Lunar Exploration Light Rover, BRP, a subcontractor of the prime subcontractor, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., created the SL-Commander. This all-terrain vehicle is an electric version of BRP's commercially available BRP Commander. It is fully automated and can be remotely operated to drive itself at a maximum speed of 40kph (24.85mph). The SL-Commander weighs 1,100kg (2,425 pounds) and can carry a payload of 200kg (440.9 pounds). (Source: Canadian Space Agency)
During the development of the Lunar Exploration Light Rover, BRP, a subcontractor of the prime subcontractor, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., created the SL-Commander. This all-terrain vehicle is an electric version of BRP's commercially available BRP Commander. It is fully automated and can be remotely operated to drive itself at a maximum speed of 40kph (24.85mph). The SL-Commander weighs 1,100kg (2,425 pounds) and can carry a payload of 200kg (440.9 pounds).
(Source: Canadian Space Agency)

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Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: Sorry but No Go
Dave Palmer   11/25/2012 12:51:12 AM
It's worth recalling that the CSA's budget is around $300 million a year, about 1/60th of NASA's budget of about $18 billion.  And it seems to me that this project was done with at least one eye on terrestrial applications -- specifically, to help BRP (and other Canadian companies, presumably) to develop better consumer products, with the SL Commander being Exhibit A.

(By the way, that's why the SL Commander has a windshield; as the caption to the slide points out, it's based on work that BRP did for the Lunar Light Exploration Rover, but it's intended for use on Earth).

Since the CSA is part of Industry Canada, it makes sense for them to be promoting Canadian businesses. That's what Industry Canada is supposed to do, after all.  Imagine if NASA were part of the Department of Commerce.

While the CSA may be small, Canada has a larger space presence through a number of its private companies, including McDonald Dettwiler, mentioned in the article, which recently acquired SpaceSystems/Loral.  This model (a significant private sector presence, coupled with a smaller public sector, focused mainly on helping the private sector) seems to be one that some people would like to see the U.S. space program emulate.

(Oh, yeah, @Ann, or whoever picked the title for this article: great pop-culture reference).

Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: SPACE ROVERS
Scott Orlosky   11/24/2012 11:23:50 AM
NO RATINGS
Nice to see that the CSA has other projects besides the arm that they are known for.  This is quite a variety of concepts.  I'm assuming they are platforms to test different instruments/approaches/missions rather than a "family" of rovers geared toward a specific mission.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Sorry but No Go
NadineJ   11/23/2012 6:09:03 PM
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When has a prototype ever been a viable product, ready for production/use?  I think what's shown here is a good first step as we think about space colonization.

And, kind of fun to think about.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Sorry but No Go
bobjengr   11/22/2012 11:43:30 AM
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Ervin.  Have to agree with you on this one.  I think the mechanical drive concepts are OK and fairly well thought out but lift off and re-entry are definitely tough on components and other equipment.   I worked in the aerospace industry (Titan II Missile) some years ago and "survival" was the key word.  Generally, mission critical components and systems had redundancy.   It was amazing to me how many launches were successful due to the redundant systems after the primary systems failed.   I definitely enjoyed Ann's post and it's very interesting to see what's in the works relative to probes that might be used.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
SPACE ROVERS
bobjengr   11/22/2012 11:35:25 AM
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Ann--Excellent post.   Do you know if there is available information that would tell us what "on-board" diagnostic packages exist to analyze soil, air for methane, test for water, etc etc?   Is there a "standard" schedule of experiments given for probes of this type; i.e. lunar, Mars, etc?  I have taken a look at the NASA web site and don't see any specifics. (Maybe missed them.)  This would be very interesting to know.  Again, excellent post.

RFalbo
User Rank
Iron
A little confused
RFalbo   11/21/2012 7:21:14 PM
Why is there a wind shield?

 

betwys1
User Rank
Iron
Critiquing space rated boxes.
betwys1   11/21/2012 10:07:18 AM
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I looked critically at the critical note about figure number ten.    It states the rugged processor box wouldn't last a minute in space,  from "one who knows"     But the legend states the box is space rated by NASA, ESA and Nippon SA.   Who is kidding whom?

 

Brian W

ervin0072002
User Rank
Gold
Sorry but No Go
ervin0072002   11/21/2012 9:50:46 AM
No offense to anyone but half the stuff I see in here are not going to survive space a minute in. especially that "ruggedized computer" in image ten. I can see holes the size of quarters on it that are not sealed in any way. Take it from some one that has worked on materials that actually go to space pin size cracks that require a 10X magnifying glass to see are a problem if your insulation material is not sufficient. One more thing, those connectors just don't look space worthy. Really Ethernet? Custom sealed connectors rated for space might do the trick. Generally speaking off the shelf connectors that are rated for that environment will be cheaper than to design your own too so good rule of thumb don't try this at home.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Are they planned for deployment?
NadineJ   11/20/2012 4:38:36 PM
NO RATINGS
It's a good start.  For those of us who own extraterrestrial real estate (or just think we do), the SL-Commando is appeaiing.  

The Exploratorium in San Francisco had a great exhibit about Curiosity that still has an online component.  It's so amazing!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Are they planned for deployment?
Ann R. Thryft   11/20/2012 11:44:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Lou, no decisions have yet been made on what will be deployed where. These are prototypes, so the CSA is still working out the details and trying out different approaches to similar goals.

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