Desert Research and Technology Studies 2007 Report 2008-01-2062
During the first two weeks of September 2007, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) Advanced Extravehicular Activity (AEVA) team led the field test portion of the 2007 Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) in the Flagstaff, AZ area. The Desert RATS field test activity is the year-long culmination of various individual science and advanced engineering discipline areas’ technology and operations development efforts into a coordinated field test demonstration. The field test is conducted under representative (analog) planetary surface terrain conditions.
The 2007 Desert RATS was the tenth RATS field test and was the most focused test to date with participants from seven NASA field centers, a variety of NASA support contractors, and one other government agency.
The main test objective was to demonstrate two operational concepts for lunar outpost activities/assembly to inform future Constellation Architecture Team (CAT) studies. The two tasks were a site survey for lunar outpost (using the Science, Crew, Operations, and Utility Testbed (SCOUT) rover) and deployment of a solar power system with cables. For both of these tasks, the team acquired quantitative data on human-robot interaction that can be used to determine task efficiency indexes to compare the operational scenarios of robots, humans, and human-robot teams. The team also measured the effects of 5-10 seconds of a lunar time delay on telerobotic operations.
The second major test objective was to demonstrate two technologies for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and robotic operations: a lithium-ion battery for the space suit Portable Life Support System (PLSS) and autonomy software to coordinate robot activities.
Data regarding requirements for technology development, hardware design, operations, and interfaces were gathered from the test activities. The test was extremely successful with all teams meeting all primary test objectives. This paper summarizes Desert RATS 2007 test hardware, detailed test objectives, test operations, and test results.