Ito, Y., Rüede, A., and Leonardi, C. (2021)

Repetitive-Use Rocket-Crane/Rover System (R3S) for Planetary Surface Missions

AIAA Scitech 2021 Forum, ,

This study proposes a concept for a Repetitive-Use Rocket-Crane/Rover System (R3S) for surface missions (e.g. geological or resource survey, infrastructure development) on the Moon. The system consists of a rocket crane module, that can perform multiple point-to-point take-offs and landings on the Moon’s surface, and rovers that can sample multiple locations in a site, where the crane has landed. The rovers detach and attach themselves to the crane module repeatedly to be carried to the next site. A pre-existing detachable cargo pod concept for electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) logistics will be applied for the latching mechanism between the crane module and the rover. The early stage feasible use case is to search for H2O-rich resources on the lunar surface: the combination of the crane and rover will allow a wide-area multi-site survey in a single mission, complementing each of their drawback. In addition to the focus on the initial Moon H2O quest, this study will discuss the use expansion of the R3S in the context of sustainable lunar exploration, and towards Mars development in a broader timeline.