USST places well at University Rover Challenge

The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST) placed seventh among 31 teams at the 2014 University Rover Challenge (URC) in Utah. This was the team members' first time competing at the URC, where they and their rover were tested through five different challenges.

"Our goal going into the competition was to be able to participate in every task, and complete every task," said USST president Justin Gerein. "Of course we wanted to place as high as we possibly could. However, we expected that we would realistically be ending up in the middle of the competitors. So when the team found out that we had placed seventh, everyone was ecstatic!"  

The student group, composed of members from the College of Engineering, Edwards School of Business and the Computer Science and Biology departments, is dedicated to developing new space technology by working on projects and participating in competitions related to the space industry. It is supported in its efforts by donors and sponsors that include PotashCorp, the University of Saskatchewan Office of the President, the Association of Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS) and the College of Engineering.

The team plans to compete in the challenge again next year.

"After talking to some of the judges, for our first year in the competition the team did very well," Gerein added, "and brought a very nice looking rover compared to others teams in their first years (both this year and previous years). We will be taking the mistakes, the malfunctions and our experiences from this year's competition, and directly applying it to next year. Coming back from the trip we have a list over four pages long already with changes and ideas for next year. A large portion of the design, in particular the mechanical design was made on speculation of the environment there and what the terrain would actually be like. Now we are able to completely reevaluate the design with a new perspective."

The URC is an international robotics competition hosted by the Mars Society at the Mars Research Station outside of Hanksville, Utah. Teams from around the world participated in the 2014 competition.