1. Introduction

The UKSEDS Lunar Rover Competition challenges student teams to design, construct and operate a lunar rover, in order to perform a task that is representative of a real mission. The competition has been designed to be carried out by either an undergraduate group research project, or by a team from a UKSEDS branch.

The competition is held across the academic year, beginning in October 2016, and ending in July 2017. A schedule has been included in section 2.2.1.

1.1 Competition Objectives

  1. Challenge students to perform a complex, systems engineering task of the development of a vehicle to a set of real space missions requirements;
  2. Enable students to apply taught technical skills and learn new ones relevant to a job in the space industry in an applicable project environment;
  3. Provide students with an opportunity to develop and practice other important and marketable skills, such as teamwork, leadership and project management;
  4. Foster wider interest in the activities of the space sector, especially in space engineering and robotics.

2. Competition Overview

This section has a brief description of all the major components of the competition, and includes references to additional material where necessary.

2.3 Mission Tasks

The challenge to the student team is design, build and operate a small rover on a mission modeled around lunar exploration. Lunar exploration has been of active interest for over 50 years, and there has been a renewed interest recently by both foreign nations like Russia and China, and within ESA as part of the Moon Village concept.

The primary mission objective for the competition is to navigate into the bottom of a crater, retrieve a soil sample, and return to the edge of the crater area. This consists of three components:

  1. Enter the crater: The Rover will need to move from the lip of the crater, down the slop to a designated point.
  2. Retrieve a soil sample: A soil sample must be retrieved from the designated sample site within the crater. The amount of soil returned and the mechanism to retrieve it is not important.
  3. Return to the lander: The rover must then return itself with the soil sample to the
    starting point. The mission is complete when the rover returns to this point.

Further details on how these tasks are marked will be contained in the Rules and Scoring Criteria sections of the Appendix.

2.2 Competition Schedule

The Lunar rover competition consists of several stages, which have been illustrated in fig. 3. A comprehensive overview of the tasks and deliverables are located in the Description of Work (section 3) and in appendix E. Each deliverable must be handed in on time to the competition organisers for a team to progress to the next stage. Of particular importance are the PDR and CDR Reports.

c Competition Rules

C. 1 Competition Authority

The LRC rules are issued by UKSEDS annually. Official announcements by UKSEDS should be considered to have the same validity as these rules. UKSEDS reserve the right to alter the rules, clarify ambiguities and disqualify teams at any point from taking part in the competition, for safety reasons or otherwise. Teams that enter agree to comply with the rules, and report ambiguities or mistakes to UKSEDS.

C.2 Eligibility and Team Structure

The competition is open to UKSEDS members and students from UK universities. It has been designed to be able to work as a group project towards a degree, but other entrants are welcome. There is no limit on the number of members in a team, but there may be a limit on the attendance to the competition event. Additionally, the work should be demonstrable as being done by the team members, and not academic supervisors or other advisers.

C.3 Rover & Requirements

Teams shall comply with all requirements listed in the Technical Specification appendix D. Teams may choose to comply (or identify and explain areas of non-compliance) with the space standards listed in the Applicable and Reference Documents (appendix B).

C.4 Costs and Funding

There is no fee to enter the competition.

Teams should source funding for the project themselves, via grants from their universities, students’ unions or departments. Teams who progress past the CDR will be eligible for a grant through the LRC grant pool, provided kindly by our sponsors. This money, up to £500 may be used for any aspect of the project, including the construction of the rover or transportation of the team to the test site. It will be paid in arrears after the competition event. Entries into the LRC are not eligible for the UKSEDS projects grant award scheme.

Teams entering the competition are also encouraged to search for sponsorship from commercial entities, especially those in the aerospace field. However, the competition authorities should be informed of this before any sponsorship deal is agreed, and it should be demonstrable that the majority of the work has been done by the team if technical advice is given. All sponsorship should be attributed correctly in the design review documentation.

C.6 Competition Day

The final part of the Lunar Rover Competition is the test on the competition day. This will be held at RALSpace in Harwell, Oxfordshire. The date and travel and accommodation arrangements will be released at a later date.

The majority of the tests will be carried out on the ”Moon Yard”. The specifications for this test area are defined in appendix D.3. Teams will be able to either control your rover by line of sight, or remotely from a control room. There will be a separate preparation area near to the test pit. Each team will have two opportunities to perform the mission, before and after the vibration test (see appendix D.2). Teams will draw lots to identify the order of the competition.

C.5 Scoring & Awards

The main competition is scored on the competition day, following the scoring scheme shown in the table below. The two teams with the highest points will be awarded 1st and 2nd place. If there is a tie, the winner will be the team that completed the tasks in the quickest time.

There will also be a separate award for the team who can demonstrate the most complete compliance with space standards (see Applicable and Reference Documents). Identification of non-compliance of the rover with standards will also be taken into account. This prize is awarded based upon the decision of the CDR board.

The prizes will be announced at a later date.