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Utah State University Triumphs in College Division Of NASA's 12th Annual 'Great Moonbuggy Race' Saturday
04.09.05
 
Martin Jensen
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)
News release: 05-045


The team from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, captured victory in the college division of NASA's 12th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala., Saturday. A super-light weight aluminum design allowed the Aggie team to pedal to victory in just its second year of competition.

Utah State topped 28 other college and university teams from 14 states, Germany and Puerto Rico with a winning time of 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Vehicles powered by two-team members -- one male and one female -- raced one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain at Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

In addition to the first place honor, the Utah State team earned a cash award and a trophy-replica of the original lunar roving vehicle.

Pittsburg State University team two from Pittsburg, Kan., finished second with a time of 4 minutes 42 seconds, while University of Evansville team one, Evansville, Ind., placed third with a time of 4 minutes 50 seconds. Those teams received plaques, and all three winning teams received medallions and duffel bags bearing the Great Moonbuggy Race logo.

The award for Best Engineering Design went to the team from University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt. Team two from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill., was honored with a special "pits award" for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems. Plus, a special "Crash and Burn" award, given for handling adversity, went to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Ind., because their buggy finished the race in three separate pieces.

The event is inspired by the actual lunar roving vehicle project, which was successfully completed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville during the 1960s and 1970s. NASA engineers then had the challenge to design and build a compact, light, flexible and durable vehicle that would carry astronauts on the Moon's surface during the Apollo missions.

The Moonbuggy Race is the culmination of a competition that challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle, so they will learn how to deal with real-world engineering problems.

Building a racing buggy gives students hands-on experience that could pay off in fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration as they become the next generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts. The Vision calls for Space Shuttles to return to safe flight, to complete the International Space Station, and human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.

Sponsors of the event include the Marshall Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alabama-Mississippi Section, ATK Thiokol, Jacobs Sverdrup, Morgan Research, Science Application International Corporation, the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the System Safety Society, United Space Alliance and television station WHNT, all of Huntsville.

College teams included: Alabama A&M University in Huntsville; University of Alabama in Birmingham; University of South Alabama in Mobile; Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Ind.; Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind.; University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind.; Freiberg University of Mining & Technology in Freiberg, Germany; Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.; Murray State University in Murray, Ky.; Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo.; University of New Hampshire in Durham; Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.; Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio; Cameron University in Lawton, Okla.; University of Puerto Rico in Humacao; Christian Brothers University in Memphis; Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro; Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville; University of Tennessee in Knoxville; Utah State University in Logan; and University of Vermont in Burlington.

In the high school division race held Friday, featuring 44 teams, Madison County Career Academy, Huntsville, Ala., grabbed first place with a time of 4 minutes 8 seconds. Two teams from Lafayette County C-1 High School of Higginsville, Mo., placed second and third with a second place time of 4 minutes 42 seconds, and third place time of 5 minutes 25 seconds.

The Lafayette County C-1 High School team two was awarded "Most Unique Buggy" for its lunar dust abatement system and the award for best moonbuggy design. A special "pits award" for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems was won by the team from IPS Career & Technology Center, Indianapolis, Ind.

For photos of the top-finishing high school teams, visit the Marshall Newsroom at:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news


For photos of the top-finishing college teams, visit the Marshall Newsroom at:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news


For more information about the “Great Moonbuggy Race” visit:

http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov