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NASA Moonbuggy Race - NASA Moonbuggy Race 2012

Written by: Ralf Heckel
Translated by: Nadin Rößler

Huntsville/Alabama the 13th of April 2012

Newsflash: Not because of superstition, but because of the naked truth became that day to one of the most important lessons of the year before. Today emerged every single sense of the current core values. They had been rewarded to the ones and punished to the others for the smallest negligence.

img2Our group competed with a captivating team-choreography and had been admired by the local TV in the earliest morning for their perfection. But the management of the organizer had been changed very much this year. There was a change, a lot of people retired. The results of the new makers are much harder obstacles with installed steel and concrete parts. That’s the reason why old experiences of the foreign years are things of the past now, and all teams realized that today. In the college competition came just 25% of all members through the race.

img2In the group of our 8 pilots was just one with track experience, Max Frank from Team Germany 1. Even Max got to feel the full force of the new truth, today. At his Moonbuggy occurred already small shortcomings while the inspection at the assembly that had been punished with a time of 40 seconds. After a start that had been delayed by hours got both front wheels already a total loss after the first obstacle. He and his copilot Viktoria still moved the Moonbuggy to the finish within the specified time limit.

Team Russia managed successful 70% of the track and had then at one obstacle such a high jump that the tie rod broke. They still moved their buggy successful to the finish, too and thus got the 8th place at that day.

img3Team Italy absolved 25% of the track successful until a material error occurred at the weld of the back axle. This axle had been produced as stated by Leipzig in Venice, but with a wrong welding process and an imprecise fit. One back wheel broke. But pilots Simon and Laura are tough and high motivated. They also moved their buggy successful to the finish.

img4The surprise of that day after all these experiences had been Team Germany 2. Entirely without prejudice Tobias Meier (15) and Michaela Ebert (14) reached the finish in just 4 minutes. They indeed had to fight with some self training Ehlers (Assembly time 16 sec) and it also rained penalty minutes because Michaela had to leave the buggy or Tobias messed up a pylon, but that all can be corrected today. This day welded all the 20 members together and that’s why all the won data could be evaluated on the same evening.  Every Moonbuggy has 3 on-board cameras that record different parts of the technique, the track and the pilots. This data has been turned out as very valuable.

After an extensive buffet for dinner, everyone went directly to bed.

img6The technical conclusion: All parts that had been produced in Leipzig are slightly increased for the new requirements. Problems were the new chosen standard parts and two in Venice produced plug-in parts. All buggies are already repaired and ready for use on the same day at 6 o’clock pm.
Overview of the day in pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157629448997404/

 
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