Galileo Rover - NASA Human Exploration Rover

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Project Abstract

The Galileo Rover team is a continuation of previous rover teams at the University of Colorado Denver. Each year, NASA hosts its Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Alabama. This challenge allows high school, US, and International collegiate teams the opportunity to put their rover designs to the test on a NASA designed obstacle course. The Galileo Rover team is collectively seeking first place in the competition, which is currently being held as a virtual award ceremony in late April 2021. This award is going to challenge us to be the best in the following categories; design review, safety, educational engagement, and most importantly a successful assembly and excursion.

This year the team decided to adopt the overall design from last year’s rover, while making further improvements and updates to the wheels, steering and frame design. These updates consisted of adding reinforcement aluminum ‘spokes’ to the wheels to strengthen their integrity while completing the course. Last year’s team created a hollow, conical shape for the carbon fiber shells of the wheels, in order to eliminate the need for internal supports. Upon final assembly of the wheels, due to the hollow shells, Galileo noticed a slight oil-canning at the hub, and therefore designed and manufactured aluminum spokes to add extra support and prevent failure. The steering on Galileo remained the same as the previous team implemented Ackermann geometry with parallelogram-like pitman arms. Galileo decided it was necessary to redesign and manufacture the knuckles and tie rods of the steering assembly. This redesign reduced the number of pieces requiring a bolt connection, with a singular tie-rod attachment and brake caliper needing to be bolted on. In order to address the issues with torsion in the frame as previous teams have run into, the Galileo team created torsion plates to attach to the frame. These were designed and manufactured out of carbon fiber, in an ‘s’-like shape, which was further determined to resist any deformation or fracture when steering and traversing inclines.

Currently, Galileo Rover is in the final assembly phase of the rover and has plans to have a completed assembly and test of the rover by the end of the academic year. Due to COVID-19, the competition is being held virtually with optional video submission of completed rover designs that will be considered for award.

Project presentation