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Back in November 2020, the Space Robotics research group (SpaceR) at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) within the University of Luxembourg launched a challenge in the framework of the ActInSpace hackathon. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, however, the award ceremony took place on the 27 September 2021.

The 2020 event was organised and led by SnT in collaboration with Technoport, a technology business incubator in Luxembourg, and InTech S.A.. It was also sponsored by SnT, the Luxembourg Space Agency, and Gradel – a local company specialised in space and nuclear machine management. A total of 15 participating teams took part to the 24-hour challenge, entitled “Configure & test a DIY lunar rover”, which involved designing an application to configure rovers to find resources on the Moon. “We wanted the young people who participate in our challenge to get a sense of the entire development cycle of a lunar rover,” said Prof. Olivares Mendez, head of the SpaceR research group and the LunaLab at SnT, who led the challenge.

The winners were 41Space, an international team composed of Margot Gabel, Gabriel Garcia, Sumit Goski, Daniela Ignatova, and Julien Stamerra. In recognition of their work, they received a DIY Kit from SnT to assemble the rover they designed, one week of travel to Luxembourg from sponsor Gradel, as well as a gift voucher. In addition, they were invited to test and demo the rover in SnT’s LunaLab, which they finally had the chance to do on the day of the award ceremony.

At the ceremony, speakers from local space startups held sessions on the lunar economy and the opportunities it will present in the very near future. In fact, a recent study by Northern Sky Research forecasts that 140 Moon missions will be launched over the next decade. Afterwards, the hackathon winners presented their winning project in detail, and described their experience of participating to the contest and collaborating online from different locations to design and prototype the configurator in 24 hours. After their presentation, the attendees had the chance to see the team demoing the rover in the LunaLab.

The 41Space team with their rover in SnT’s Lunalab. From the left: Sumit Goski,
Margot Gabel, Julien Stamerra, Gabriel Garcia, and Daniela Ignatova.