Sunday, November 30, 2008

Motors and gears for Jaluro

Maxon motors and gears for Jaluro. Maxon motors and gears were also used by NASA during the Phoenix mission on Mars.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Thruster Tests

Team FREDNET members in Australia have been very busy building the first prototype of the Ground Hovering Test Vehicle. This video shows the first closed loop tests of one of the three thrusters mounted on the prototype, using compressed air, a single axis gyro, and a PID controller. Apparently, the PID controller software will need some tuning, but it's nice to see it moving :-)

You can follow the progress of the Team FREDNET Ground Hovering Test Vehicle in our public forum.

Team FREDNET partnership with Elphel, Inc.

Team FREDNET is happy to announce to have established a longterm partnership with Elphel Inc. Elphel, Inc. was started in 2001 and is today a major provider and developer of flexible high-end imaging solutions providing high performance cameras and turn-key solutions based on free, open source software and hardware designs.

Freedom of the users is top priority to Elphel. Elphel values and protects this freedom with the GNU General Public License that covers all the Elphel software and hardware designs. This freedom extends from the convenience of the out-of-the-box usage of the cameras with the intuitive GUI to the possibility to modify any parts of them. It protects the user rights to create and distribute derivative products based on Elphel designs. Elphel's philosophy fits perfectly with Team FREDNET, since both work and live by the open source principles.

Elphel will provide camera systems to Team FREDNET who will modify and integrate them into the lunar rover prototypes that are currently under development.

Elphel CameraElphel Camera


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Rocket Fuel Tanks to Zero-G Coffee Cups

It appears that STS-126 astronaut Don Pettit had some spare time Sunday to resume his Saturday Morning Science experiments, which he conducted during his previous stay on the ISS back in 2002/2003. This time he demonstrated an improved version of the Zero-G Coffee Cup inspired by techniques used in liquid fuel tank designs.

Video credit: collectSPACE.

You can find a video compilation of the very interesting Saturday Morning Science experiments here. By the way, did YouTube switch to HD during the weekend?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Team FREDNET Lunar Babies Club

The average age in the Team FREDNET community is still getting younger with the recent arrival of Alexander Greyson Boyd, born 7 Nov 2008. The proud father, Kevin Boyd, is one of the earliest members of Team FREDNET. You have probably seen him in CNBC's coverage of the Google Lunar X PRIZE, which aired back in December 2007.

Rumours say that we can expect a few more new members in the Team FREDNET Lunar Babies Club within the next few months, this time from the European side. Is this the sign of a new baby boom coming? Or a simple indication that we have many young team members around the world? In either case we congratulate on the arrival of the first Team FREDNET Lunar Baby!

Kevin Boyd and Alex

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NASA Image of the Day

NASA Image of the day this morning is a beautiful photo of space shuttle Endeavour lifting off from Kennedy Space Center into the night sky with the full moon in the background (click on the picture to get a higher resolution).

Space shuttle Endeavour lift off
Image Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

The ovjectives of the STS-126 mission is to prepare the space station to house six crew members for long-duration missions. More info on the mission including live transmissions and blogs on the NASA Sapce Shuttle site.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jaluro: Just Another Lunar Rover

One of the great things about having an open source community like ours is that members are free to work on their own ideas and concepts. They can form groups to study and explore the various ideas and concepts. At the same time the lessons learned are shared with the rest of the community.

Jaluro - Just Another Lunar Rover - is a two-wheeled rover concept by Tobias Krieger from Team FREDNET. Within a few weeks Jaluro evolved from an idea into a conceptual design and now there is very active development on the prototype for this rover. Thanks to the community, there are always good ideas and discussions on our forum. Everybody is welcome to join the Jaluro development!

Jaluro wiki portal:
Jaluro discussions:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wheel and Gearbox Design for WRV1

Now that Jörg's rover concept has been demonstrated in the field the design goes on focusing on critical mechanical parts. These pictures show the design of the wheel and the gearbox. There are no ball bearings and no plastic parts on it!
Jörg's rover is called WRV1: Wheeled Rover Vehicle 1. You can follow and contribute to the development of WRV1 at