The Challenge | Design by Nature

Design an autonomous free-flyer to inspect a spacecraft for damage from Micro-Meteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD).

Dr. gecko

Free flyer inspired by gecko's grip technology, laser area scan system and compactable structure design

we start to thinking how free-flyer could stay attached to a generic surface in space,and gecko's technology is the best existing technology for our goals, we passed to choose with type of movimentation we need.

Final decision was inspired by tank's track, first of all because for a good contact surface second the structure guarantees the momentum that is necessary to remove the adhesive from the surface .

moreover guarantees a low time inspection.

three articulate legs configuration is thinking to go beyond different obstacles combined to the possibility to rotate the tracks guaranteesan easy passage from one surface to another.

Damage revelation system is based on a two 3d area laser scannerthat compared the detection with a pre-load map surface of spacecraft to identify damage after that measure the depth and the angle of impact( if is possible).

Also there is a optical camera whit light that can be used by the crew to estimated the damage.

From the preliminary considerations on power system is evident the need of secondary batteries type(Li-ion NiCd are the candidate) and solar pannels .

Additional modules can be assemble on it to make temporary repairs.

Reference: of laser system)


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