MOJAVE, CA 93501


Create a deployable, inflatable rigidizing wheel for planetary rover exploration.


Principal Investigator:

Greg Mungas

Project Status:

Complete.  Successful deployment of second prototype.  Most current rev was indicative of a flight wheel in that it was fully  stow-able, inflatable, and autonomously heated.  Additionally a previous wheel rev (seen below at Proto-Innovations, LLC, Pittsburgh headquarters; Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute spinoff.)  First prototype has currently demonstrated >80km of runs in Mars-like worst case “weak” soils at up to 167 kg of Mars equivalent wheel load with minimal wheel wear and no recorded failures (average power consumption of <2.4W at 133 m/hr). Largest obstacle climbed to date is ~75cm with 101kg Mars equivalent load. Largest gap traversed is 1.2m. Max speed under peak wheel load was 2km/hr. Advanced tread, rock-climbing performance, and wheel deployability is currently under investigation.


  • C. Mungas, G. Mungas, D. Apostolopoulos, D. Fisher, M. Wagner, "SILVRCLAW III Advanced Wheel Design and Testing." IEEE Aerospace Conference 2007, IEEEAC#1300

  • G. Mungas, D. Apostolopoulos, D. Fisher, C. Mungas, B. Carryer, S. Hays, M. Wagner, J. Teza, “SILVRCLAW II Analysis, Prototype Development, and Testing.”  IEEE Aerospace Conference 2006, IEEEAC#1582

  • G. Mungas, J Boynton, “SILVRCLAW An Inflatable Rigidizing wheel Technology for Planetary Rover Applications.”  IEEE Aerospace Conference 2005, IEEEAC#1492