June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.203.1 - 23.203.15
Applying Systems Engineering to the Lunabotics Mining Competition Capstone Design Challenge Lunabotics Mining Competition is a university-level challenge intended for thecapstone design experience. The competition encourages the development of innovativelunar excavation concepts that may result in clever ideas and solutions applicable to anactual lunar excavation device or payload. The basic challenge is for student teams todesign and build a remote controlled or autonomous excavator, called a Lunabot that canmaneuver over rough simulated lunar terrain and, collect and deposit a minimum of 10kilograms of lunar simulant within 10 minutes. In order to produce and demonstrate aviable design, students are required to apply systems engineering techniques. This paperaddresses the application of systems engineering as an integral part of the Lunaboticsdesign challenge. The systems engineering portion of the Lunabotics competition results in a papersubmitted prior to the actual mining event. University teams vie for the best systemsengineering paper award, as their paper scores contribute to the grand prize score. TheLunabotics systems engineering paper scoring rubric involves three categories: content,intrinsic merit, and technical merit. The content category focuses on professional format,valid sources, and the purpose of the systems engineering paper. Intrinsic merit requiresstudents to address the management dimensions to systems engineering, including thebudget, schedule, major design reviews, and the identification of key design deliverables.The majority of the scoring resides in the technical merit category. Technical merit, interms of systems engineering, includes the following: concept of operations, systemshierarchy, system interfaces, requirements definition, trade-off assessments, reliability,and verification the system meets the requirements. This paper highlights the qualities of the winning systems engineering papersfrom the three years of the Lunabotics design challenge. Emphasis is placed on theevolving understanding of systems engineering by the university teams, as well as theability to address the stated challenge requirements. Key requirements for each year’scompetition include the abrasive characteristics of the lunar simulant, the weight and sizelimitations of the Lunabot, and the ability to control the Lunabot from a remote controlcenter. The paper will compare the results of the systems engineering paper scores withthe performance of the lunabots in the challenge. Finally, the paper discusses theperspective of the paper judges, all practicing systems engineers, such as the commonstudent misunderstandings about systems engineering and the attempts to refine thescoring rubric for future competitions. By demonstrating the application of systemsengineering to the Lunabotics design challenge, this paper makes the case for inclusion ofsystems engineering into university-level capstone curricula to improve engineeringdesign.
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