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Title: ARGOS and Microgravity Free Flyer Evaluation

This project's purpose is to evaluate the ability of the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) to provide a microgravity environment for a free flying vehicle. To evaluate the ARGOS performance it could be compared to the known microgravity environment generated by the parabolic flight of an airplane. The other option for comparison would be an experiment on the International Space Station. ARGOS is a robotic system that provides reduced gravity environments through a large motion based platform. It is a facility at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) that has been used for human and robotic testing over the past three years. However, ARGOS has not been used for testing free flyers and the evaluation of the ARGOS control system to maintain a microgravity environment for a free flyer is a unique area of research. The student design team will need to develop a free flyer (probably a quad or hexa-copter) that will fly a specific set of motion patterns in both ARGOS and plane induced microgravity environments. A method of collecting data for comparison is required. The data should be a combination of collection methods that may include motion capture camera system and inertial guidance units. Parabolic flight provides an ideal environment to collect a data set for comparison to the data collected on ARGOS. Ultimately, this data will allow the ARGOS system to be evaluated and the control system to be tuned for optimal free flyer performance.

Larry K. Dungan

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