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Siemens PLM Software Used to Compete for Google Lunar X Prize

By DE Editors

Siemens PLM Software has become a supplier of computer-aided design and engineering analysis (CAD/CAE) software to the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP), a team of businesses, academic institutions and non-profit organizations competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to Earth.

The RCSP team will use Solid Edge software and Femap software with NX NASTRAN software in the design and analysis process. Team leader of RCSP is Tim Pickens, who was also the lead propulsion engineer for the SpaceShipOne team that won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private suborbital space flight in October 2004. Pickens is chief propulsion engineer and commercial space advisor for Dynetics.

Siemens PLM Software will partner with the RCSP on the innovative “Engineering Meets Education” program. Through this outreach initiative, the RCSP partners are helping develop the engineering leaders of tomorrow. One of the RCSP partners, the Huntsville Center for Technology (HCT), will allow the partnership to engage high school students with engineers and scientists to assist in designing, building and flying aerospace hardware.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to become the first privately funded team in history to reach and explore the surface of the moon,” says Pickens. “I know from my experience on important projects such as Dynetics’ design and development of the forward thruster system for Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer, that quality, precision and efficiency are critical to the design and development process; so we are delighted to have access to state-of-the-art product development software like Solid Edge and Femap with NX NASTRAN, and to the industry leading training and support of a world leader like Siemens PLM Software. And as a former student at the Huntsville Center for Technology, I am very excited that Siemens PLM Software is a partner on this education initiative.”

The HCT is the technical training center for Huntsville City schools, serving students from all seven area high schools in 14 skilled training areas. Last summer, CAD students from HCT won first place in a national design contest using Solid Edge software as their 3D design tool, and the school took third place at the national competition with a chapter display depicting an ARES rocket floor system. The school’s moonbuggy racing team has won numerous honors, including three first-, two second- and two third-place wins within the past five years. In May, the school received the NASA Educational Partnership Award.

In addition to the team leader Dynetics and the Huntsville Center for Technology, the RCSP team consists of Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Space, Spaceflight Services, Draper Laboratory, the University of Alabama Huntsville and the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation. RCSP joins more than 20 other teams. Each competing team must be at least 90% privately funded.

RCSP will use Solid Edge for 3D CAD related development and 2D drafting, and will employ Femap with NX NASTRAN for finite element modeling coupled with digital product simulation and analysis.

For more information, visit RCSP and Siemens PLM software.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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