September 2020 - July 2021

The Tool in Isometric View

User-controlled Regolith Sample Acquirer (URSA) is a project done under NASA's Micro-g NExT challenge for Lunar Surface EVA Operations. The goal is to create a sample bag dispenser that holds sample bags that get dispensed one by one, and is attached to a utility belt. The project's constraints are that the dispenser must hold 20 bags, be operable with one hand only with manual power, not deform any bags, be operable with EVA gloves, fit within 12" x 12" x 5", and be under 3 lbs, as well as some other technical constraints.

The tool consists of a series of springs connected to a rectangular plate and shell structure to push the sample bags out. There are two sets of telescoping railings, one to select a bag by lifting it up, and one to hold it in place while a sample is being put inside. Last, the sample bag is removed by hand.

The tool was primarily made of aluminum 6061 alloy, with stainless steel being the material of the bolts and spring. It was constructed by using machining equipment in the Design and Manufacturing Lab at OSU as well as bolting parts together. Several prototypes were constructed, with the final being shipped to the National Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, TX.

The Tool with Front View

URSA was successfully tested, though it had some limitations. The telescoping railing system and the tool's overall ergonomics were rated highly, though a single bag could not be properly dispensed without other bags being dispensed. As a result, URSA did not fully meet the challenge's criteria.

Team members include Omar Abouzahr, Markus Klawun, Landon Dowers, Molly Lammes, Alex Booker, Patrick Williams, Taylor Bostick, and Ben Kinkaid, along with assistance from Dr. Jamey Jacob of OSU.

The Tool Prototype The Tool with the Side View