Development of Endurance Testing Apparatus Simulating Wheel Dynamics and Environment on Lunar Terrain
This paper entails the design and development of a NASA testing system used to simulate wheel operation in a lunar environment under different loading conditions. The test system was developed to test the design of advanced nonpneumatic wheels to be used on the NASA All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE). The ATHLETE, allowing for easy maneuverability around the lunar surface, provides the capability for many research and exploration opportunities on the lunar surface that were not previously possible. Each leg, having six degrees of freedom, allows the ATHLETE to accomplish many tasks not available on other extra-terrestrial exploration platforms. The robotic vehicle is expected to last longer than previous lunar rovers.