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press news - News Presse Deutsch

Space Camp, April 2014, Ralf Heckel, a Space Camp Ambassador from Germany, had two teams participate in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on April 11-12, 2014. Formerly NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race, the new NASA Rover Challenge focuses on designing, constructing and testing technologies for mobility devices to perform in these different environments, and it provides valuable experiences that engage students in the technologies and concepts that will be needed in future exploration missions.

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Rovers are human-powered and carry two students, one female and one male, over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated extraterrestrial terrain of craters, boulders, ridges, inclines, crevasses and ruts. Each student team of six members is responsible for building its own rover, and the two course drivers must be chosen from the team.

As a part of the challenge, and before traversing the course, unassembled rover entries must be carried by the drivers to the course starting line with the unassembled components contained in a volume of 5 ft. x 5 ft. x 5 ft (dimension requirements). At the starting line, the entries are assembled, readied for racing 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/University Division) are those having the shortest total times in assembling their rovers and traversing the course. Each team is permitted two runs of the course, and the shortest course time (plus penalties) will be added to the assembly time for the final total event time.

In the High School Division, International Space Education Institute (ISEI) - Team Russia from Moscow won third place. They were also awarded the Jesco Von Puttkamer International Team Award for the fastest team hailing from outside the United States. In the College/University Division, ISEI - Team Germany from Leipzig also won the Jesco Von Puttkamer International Team Award.

The ISEI - Team Germany Rover will be featured at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., where students, teachers and families learn more about the engineering that goes into creating a rover.

Both ISEI teams are featured in a Huntsville Times/AL.com article and Ralf wrote about the race on his website.

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