Lightweight Robotic Excavation
Lightweight robotic excavators address the need for machines that dig,collect, transport and dump lunar soil. Robust and productive smallrobots enable mining rich and accessible deposits of ice and othervolatiles buried near craters at the lunar poles, delivering resources toproduce propellant, and thus making space exploration sustainable.Lightweight excavators bridge the gap between prospecting and full-scaleISRU.A lightweight robot is proposed that excavates and delivers regolith with
production so superior to the state of the art as to enable realistic
lunar and planetary applications. Demonstration of light weight will be
achieved by operating a low mass robot in Earth gravity reduced 5/6 by
The significance of the proposed innovation is an approach that not only
performs the required tasks but is low in mass (30 kg to 150 kg). Mass
constraints make productive excavation challenging. However, innovative
designs incorporating transverse bucket-wheels, high payload composite
dump beds, and high-speed driving are game changers, enabling regolith
operations in low gravity. Phase 1 experimental results show that payload
ratio and driving speed govern productivity of small robots.
Phase 2 will elevate TRLs from 3 at the beginning to an estimated 4 or 5
at end of contract.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
4551 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3524
Number of Employees: