MSOE’s Space Raiders team took home three awards at the NASA LUNABOTICS competition on June 29. The annual LUNABOTICS competition challenges teams from universities around the country to design and build prototype robots that are capable of mining in a simulated lunar environment. The competition provides students with practical experience in the full engineering lifecycle process from concept development to system closeout.

The MSOE Space Raiders have participated in the LUNABOTICS competition since 2010. The team is comprised of students from a variety of majors and is advised by Dr. Bill Farrow, associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

This year’s hybrid format added challenges to the competition, but the team overcame and was able to successfully fabricate, wire and program their mining robot. The robot uses a “bucket ladder” mechanism to scoop up gravel and dust, deposit it into a transferring bin that filters out the dust, and then dumps the transferring bin to deposit the gravel. Its large wheels enable it to navigate uneven lunar surfaces.

While the team would normally compete at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this year’s competition moved to a virtual format. Judges from NASA and industry partners evaluated teams on their executive summaries, project management plans, systems engineering papers, public outreach reports, presentations and demonstrations.

The judges awarded the MSOE Space Raiders with several awards, including the “Leaps and Bounds” award, which distinguished them as the most improved team. The judges noted their improvements in project management and applauded their progress.

The team also placed third in the “Presentations and Demonstrations” category, wowing the judges with their explanation of their design process. They earned fifth place in the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence, which is awarded to the team that scores the best across all categories.

At the end of the virtual award ceremony, the Space Raiders were invited to come on camera and comment on their win. Team members expressed that they are excited for next season, when they hope to refine their mechanical design, program the robot to run more autonomously and hopefully compete in-person.

The 2020-21 MSOE Space Raiders team members include:

  • Tim Buchmann, electrical engineering
  • Jonah Caldwell-Tautges, mechanical engineering
  • Kathryn Carroll, mechanical engineering
  • Andrew Crisler, software engineering
  • Tony Ellingen, mechanical engineering
  • Austin Fritsch, mechanical engineering
  • Jacob Fritsch, mechanical engineering
  • Kegan Hackett, electrical engineering
  • Zachary Hart, mechanical engineering
  • Kyle Holland, mechanical engineering
  • Riley Jensen, computer science
  • Nathan Johnson, mechanical engineering
  • Julia Kalish, biomedical engineering
  • Noah Kennedy, software engineering
  • Daniil Larin, mechanical engineering
  • Carl Malagodi, mechanical engineering
  • Max Matushek, mechanical engineering
  • Joe McClanahan, electrical engineering
  • Justin McElderry, mechanical engineering
  • Alex Moran, industrial engineering
  • Nathan Mueller, mechanical engineering
  • Cody Nettesheim, computer engineering
  • Ashley Neurauter, electrical engineering
  • Sam Oehmcke, electrical engineering
  • Jonathan Phung, computer science
  • Victor Piechowiak, mechanical engineering
  • Alex Reid, mechanical engineering
  • Isaiah Rondeau, software engineering
  • Amber Rothe, biomedical engineering/computer engineering
  • Gwynne Sahyun, electrical engineering
  • James Siedschlag, mechanical engineering
  • Jackson Skanberg, electrical engineering
  • Kenzie Swinford, computer science/mechanical engineering
  • Avery Tiegs, industrial engineering