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MIT TALARIS Project: 100% throttle ground test

Video from the 4-fan 100% throttle ground test of the TALARIS vehicle, a prototype test vehicle for robotic lunar landers. At this throttle level, the vehicle's 4 fans consume 24 kW of power at 500 A and provide a power-to-weight ratio higher than both the Bugatti Veyron and a fully-loaded Boeing 747 at take-off.

Talaris is a student project at MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, aiming to produce a small-scale prototype vehicle similar to the Apollo Program's Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV) -- that is, a vehicle that can recreate lunar gravity by using downward-pointing fans to counter 5/6 of the vehicle's weight. A secondary propulsion system (in our case, a compressed gas propulsion system) can then maneuver the vehicle as if it is operating in lunar gravity. This allows direct testing of guidance, navigation and control algorithms for automated robotic lunar landers. The end goal of this work is to feed forward into the design of a Google Lunar X-Prize vehicle being produced by the Next Giant Leap team (an official GLXP team of which MIT is a partner). The Google Lunar X-Prize is a worldwide competition awarding $20 million to the first privately-funded team to land a robotic vehicle on the Moon and traverse 500m across the lunar surface.

Composition of our prototype vehicle as shown in the video:
Propulsion: 4 x Aero-Naut TF8000 Electric Ducted Fans with Lehner 3060/7 brushless motors and custom-designed 3D-printed inlets
Motor control: 4 x Schulze fut-40.160H Electronic Speed Controllers for brushless motors
Power: 4 x 12V Marine Lead-Acid batteries and 1 x 6V Marine Lead-Acid car battery wired in series
Structure: Custom-designed and machined aluminium

The Numbers:
Max Power: 24 kW
Max Current: ~500 A
Vehicle weight (final design): 30 kg
Power/weight ratio: 800 W/kg (higher than the Lamborghini Diablo, the 16-cylinder Bugatti Veyron supercar, and a fully-loaded Boeing 747 on take-off. A Formula 1 racing car runs at about 1000 W/kg.)
Max thrust: 405 N
Max fan blade RPMs: 24,000 RPM
Maximum fan blade tip speed: 678 km/h (Mach 0.55)
Design and build team: 40 MIT students (16.89 + 16.83)
Build time: 1 semester

(Video and text by Hemant Chaurasia)

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MIT TALARIS Project

MIT TALARIS Project

Category: Education | Updated over 4 years ago

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May 06, 2009 17:55
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