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Satnews Daily
April 16th, 2009

Crawford Transmits Trials and Tribulations of Moonbuggy Competition

Crawford sat There to record the newsworthy event was Crawford, which transmitted “off-world racing” coverage for NASA’s 16th annual Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Alamba on April 3-4, 2009. Crawford’s Transportables’ crew has geared up for the event at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center several times with its C-band uplink trucks. This year, engineer-in-charge Jim Conner was alongside 75 teams of high school and collegiate students who designed, built and raced  their way to the finish line with lightweight, human-powered buggies on a simulated lunar surface. Footage of this event was for Crawford’s client Arcata Associates, a contractor for NASA.

Moonbuggy competition Students are required to design a vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems that are similar to problems faced by the original Moonbuggy team. Each Moonbuggy will be human powered and carry two students, one female and one male, over a half-mile simulated lunar terrain course including "craters", rocks, "lava" ridges, inclines and "lunar" soil.

Moonbuggy entries are expected to be of "proof-of-concept" and engineering test model nature, rather than final production models. Each student team of six members is responsible for building their own buggy, and the course drivers, who are chosen from each team, must also be builders of the vehicle.

As a part of the competition, and prior to course testing, the un-assembled Moonbuggy entries must be carried to the course starting line, with the unassembled components contained in a volume of 4'x 4'x 4' (dimension requirements similar to those for the original Lunar Roving Vehicle). At the starting line, the entries will be assembled and readied for course testing and evaluated for safety. Assembly occurs one time prior to the first course run.

The top three winning teams in each division (one high school division and one college division) will be those having the shortest total times in assembling their moonbuggies and traversing the terrain course. Each team is permitted two runs of the terrain course, and the shortest course time will be added to the assembly time for the final total event time.