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VCU Team Wins Moonbuggy Race Rookie Award
April 27, 2011

The 2011 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Engineering Moonbuggy Team competed in the 18th Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race where they won the Rookie Award for the fastest time among new competitors. The team came in tenth place among forty returning teams.

The NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, held in Huntsville, Alabama, challenges teams to design and build a moonbuggy while addressing engineering problems similar to the original moonbuggy team. Each moonbuggy must be human-powered and carry a male and female student. The half-mile track is similar to lunar terrain and includes simulated craters, rocks, lava ridges, inclines and lunar soil. A team’s time includes assembly of the bike at the starting point and the time it takes to complete the track.

The VCU team designed the steering, suspension and drive-train systems to work optimally in unison to traverse the race course quickly. Their design utilized more complex and advance systems, which allowed for their success in the race.

The team, comprised of Mechanical Engineering students, designed a moonbuggy upon which they hope future students and teams can improve and continue to compete in the Moonbuggy Race.

The project team included Alex Dimen, Nick Broyles and Vanessa Baltor, as well as Tyler Morris, Purvesh Desai and Lauren Edgerton. Dr. Ramana M. Pidaparti, a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department, is the Faculty Advisor for the VCU moonbuggy team.

The 2011 VCU Moonbuggy Team was sponsored by Commercial Machine, Inc., Paradise Garage, It’s A Breeze Specialties, Dick’s Sporting Goods at Short Pump and Edward Dimen.

The moonbuggy will be on display at the 2011 Senior Design Expo at the Science Museum of Virginia on April 29, 2011.

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