Newsletter January 2021

Happy New Year!

Like many people our team has ambitious goals for the year 2022.

The first weeks of January have already passed by but we are still going strong on our New Year’s Resolutions.

For some insight into what we are working on in 2022, we present a quick interview with the two subteam leaders Illia Mykhailov (Propulsion and Chassis) and Sebastian Karl (Electrical Engineering and Electronics).

Sebastian & Illia, please tell us: What are your goals for 2022?

Electrical Engineering and Electronics (EEE) – Sebastian Karl:

Last year we were able to finally assemble our rover and test it at the IGLUNA field campaign in Switzerland. With this we have seen how our system performs and where we have to improve something. Therefore, we will design the next iteration of the rover’s electronics this year. This includes mainly improvements regarding the safety and reliability of our system, but also new features like the control unit for the new, third axis of our payload.

Propulsion and Chassis (PC) – Illia Mykhailov:

In the year 2022 PC will continue working with existing prototype to detect design flaws and find improvement opportunities. Our main goal for next year is creating a reliable and robust drive system using experience we gained from the last iteration.

And what would you say are you looking most forward to this year?

Electrical Engineering and Electronics (EEE) – Sebastian Karl:

Since we have a lot of new students in our team as well, it will be a big achievement for them to finally finish their first PCB for our project. They have already invested a lot of time to prepare the design of our new PCBs. The most rewarding moment of the year will be when all of our different subsystems are put together on the rover.

Propulsion and Chassis (PC)Illia Mykhailov:

Currently everyone in subteam is waiting until we get the testing routine done and the new iteration can start. Our team is looking forward to start the redesign of our subsystem and everyone is excited to see what kind of solutions will come up during the new design phase.

To finish off let’s reflect on the past year.

What was the biggest achievement for your subteam in 2021?

Propulsion and Chassis (PC)Illia Mykhailov:

As our biggest achievement of 2021 we see creating a working drive system for the rover from 0 to 100 within a year even though most of the team had modest experience in terms of mechanical design.

Electrical Engineering and Electronics (EEE) – Sebastian Karl:

Our biggest achievement of 2021 was definitely the final assembly of the rover. This was the last step before the IGLUNA challenge last summer. After two years of prototyping and testing, we were finally able to design and manufacture the final version of our system. 


We also spoke to Brendan Mance (Co-Project Manager and Payload Subteam Lead (PL)) about 2021 and his expectations for the new year.

“2021 has been full of great moments.” Brendan tells us, “But the greatest was definitely when the payload actuators and kinematic system were first verified. Sending a command via the OberserWARRtory, hearing the stepper motors’s high-pitched whine, and seeing the payload actually move in a controlled manner. Sure it’s a classic and simple thing, but what hardware engineer doesn’t relish the sight of their devices coming to life?”

Finally he adds: “But as refreshing as these early successes were, 2021 also gave us much to improve on. For instance, it was discovered that the arc azimuth axis had a crippling non-linearity problem and that another vertical axis was required for proper payload function. Working out these bugs and executing minor improvements across the entire system will comprise our goals for 2022.”

As you have seen our team is very excited for what 2022 might bring. Which is fitting as this year marks a special milestone for the entire WARR. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary this year.

Time to blast off into a new decade of space exploration at TUM!

Newsletter November 2021

The Newsletter is back!

With our return it is our pleasure to introduce our new PR Team members, Ella and Yasmin.

We are happy to bring you all the latest information about WARR Exploration.

In other recent news, here is what happened so far this semester:

The ExoMy Competition

On a foggy November morning, a pack of our team members gathered on Campus Garching. It was time for our ExoMy Competition – a challenge designed as a face off between the members who had been working on their 3D printed rovers for the duration of the summer semester. In several rounds, the teams of two to five students got to try their hand at tackling the task.

The 3D printed rovers were scored on their ability to create a large, even surface of sand. To achieve this, the teams developed different regolith handling payloads. These will help us in the development of a similar payload for LARSS which will apply new moon dust layers, enabling it to 3D print with the regolith. Working off of the blueprints for the ExoMy Rover provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the teams each developed their own techniques to accomplish the competition objectives. (see pictures)

Seeing what the groups have accomplished in just one semester as well as socializing with other team members after a long period of working online was a much needed spark of motivation at the beginning of this semester.

The Space Tech Expo

Alongside representatives from other WARR teams we, including our rovers, went on a trip to Bremen this month to introduce the attendees of this year’s Space Tech Expo to Project REBELS.
Whizzing around the exhibition stalls, past rocket engines and satellites, our adorable ExoMy Rovers were understandably well received.
It was especially delightful to meet the people behind ESA’s ExoMy blueprints and introduce them to our versions of the ExoMy. Interacting with people working in the same field as ourselves is always a great inspiration.

KickOff 2021

Additionally, we were happy to host yet another KickOff Event, successfully. We are glad to see many new members join our ranks. The team is looking forward to the added boost.

Welcome, young Padawans!

Instagram handle change

As a last piece of news we want to inform you that our instagram handle has had a very minor change. You can now find us via @warr.exploration .

Until next time we wish you happy holidays.

Newsletter Mai 2021

Dear supporters of WARR Exploration,

We are back with a new newsletter to update you on our progress towards the IGLUNA 21 Field Campaign. Due to Corona, we had a hard time manufacturing our rover LARSS as only three people were allowed to enter our WARRkstatt. Despite this, we managed to manufacture the rover before the Readiness Review which is going to take place on the 4th of June. Now, our electrical engineers and programmers are integrating the motors and PCBs, fixing some small last bugs, and testing everything to ensure smooth functioning at the field campaign. Below, you find some images taken during manufacturing.

Insights

Front view of our rover and the payload.

LARSS compared to ESA´s ExoMy.

Top view of LARSS.

Closer look on the wheel profiles developed by our terramechanic expert.

We are looking for new members

To all TUM students passionate about space exploration, we are looking for you. Join our highly motivated and interdisciplinary team to design a future rover. At WARR Exploration, you will gain hands-on experience in designing, developing, and manufacturing a rover to demonstrate space exploration applications. You will start right away with building an ExoMy (a small version of the Mars Rover of ESA and Roskosmos) as part of your introductory phase. For more information, visit our kick-off on April 26th at 6 pm CEST, or simply contact us via E-Mail or our social media channels. Kick-Off: zoom.us/my/warr.exploration (26.04.2021, 18:00 CEST)

Newsletter December 2020

Dear supporters of WARR Exploration,

During such difficult times good news is rare, but fortunately we have some: We passed the delta PDR for IGLUNA 2021 and are now on track to convince our reviewers once more at the CDR, which will take place virtually on February 19th. Unfortunately, our workshop had to be closed completely from December 8th onwards; it is not clear when we are allowed to work there again. But we hope that the lockdown will end on January 10th.

Nevertheless, we wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Stay healthy,

Your WARR Exploration team

Despite the tough social distancing restrictions on working in our workshop, we managed to finish our prototype. Furthermore, we published our new promotional video, which you can watch on YouTube.

Propulsion and Chassis (PC) is currently developing a new iteration of its system. Based on the existing prototype, new functions will be added and old ones will be improved. One such feature will be a torque motor to actuate the steering movement. Its short axial length will allow us to drastically lower the rover’s center of mass.

Structural parts of the new rover will be manufactured using more sophisticated methods. FEM analysis and topology optimization will assist us in optimizing the geometry of the parts and reducing the weight of the rover. We will also integrate the electronics housing into the suspension design, which will reduce weight, size, and the risk of collisions with other parts of the kinematic system.

Newsletter November 2020

We hope that you are all healthy and not too bad affected by the “Lockdown light”. Due to this lockdown, only two members of WARR Exploration are allowed at the same time in our workshop. Fortunately, we had finished most of the manufacturing by the time the lockdown started. Currently, only the electronic and the payload team need to manufacture parts, so we are still confident about meeting our deadlines and have a competitive rover for the IGLUNA field campaign.

Recent Works

We are proud to announce that we have completed the first iteration of our student documentation for IGLUNA. The student documentation is a comprehensive report that describes all aspects of our project, from the technical description of the rover itself to all project management issues. We look forward to the defense presentation (the Preliminary Design Review) associated with the documentation, which we will deliver this Tuesday in front of experts from the Swiss Space Center.

Approaching the main design phase of the IGLUNA project, the Payload team and Propulsion and Chassis team have been working closely together to find out how to integrate the sintering apparatus onto the rover. This design allows the printing axes to be independent of the movement of the solar tracking axes. Therefore, the solar tracking system can function automatically while the printing is controlled by the user using G-Code. With these insights, the payload team can begin their detailed mechanical design.

In the meantime, Payload is also experimenting with different mixtures of sand to use for demonstrating the functionality of our rover. Here you can see the latest one, which consists of 90% quartz sand and 10% soda. Currently, the main difficulty is finding a sunny day for testing, as we are reliant on strong sunshine for sintering.