FIDOE: A Proof-of-concept Martian Robotic Support Cart


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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to send a human exploration team to Mars within the next 25 years. In support of this effort Hamilton Standard Space Systems International (HSSSI), current manufacturers of the Space Shuttle spacesuit, began exploring alternative solutions for supporting an astronaut during a Martian surface exploration. A design concept was developed by HSSSI to integrate a minimally equipped Martian spacesuit with a robotic support cart capable of providing life support assistance, communications, and independent navigational functions. To promote NASA's visionary efforts and increase university relations, HSSSI partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to develop a proof-of-concept robotic support cart system, FIDOE - Fully Independent Delivery of Expendables. As a proof-of-concept system, the primary goal of this project was to demonstrate the feasibility of current technologies utilized by FIDOE's communication and controls system for future Martian surface explorations. The primary objective of this project was to procure selected commercial-off-the-shelf components and configure these components into a functional robotic support cart. The design constraints for this project, in addition to the constraints imposed by the Martian environment and HSSSI's Martian spacesuit, were a one-year time frame and a $20,000 budget for component procurement. This project was also constrained by the protocols defined by the NASA demonstration test environment. The final design configuration comprised of 37 major commercial off-the-shelf components and three individual software packages that integrated together to provide FIDOE's communications and control capabilities. Power distribution was internally handled through a combination of a main power source and dedicated power supplies. FIDOE also provided a stowage area for handling assisted life support systems and geological equipment. The proof-of-concept FIDOE system proved that the current technologies represented by the selected components are feasible applications for a Mars effort. Specifically, the FIDOE system demonstrated that the chosen technologies can be integrated to perform assisted life support and independent functions. While some technologies represented by the proof-of-concept system may not adequately address the robustness issues pertaining to the Mars effort, e.g., voice recognition and power management, technology trends indicate that these forms of technology will soon become viable solutions to assisting an astronaut on a Martian surface exploration.

Last modified
  • 2020-12-31
  • English
  • etd-071499-110644
Defense date
  • 1999
Date created
  • 1999-07-14
Resource type
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