Ingenium Aerospace designed, developed, and manufactured a linear electromechanical actuator (EMA) for use as the primary flight control actuator (FCA) for a next generation space vehicle.
Ingenium Aerospace’s customer was competing with three other air-framers to provide the future space launch vehicle replacing the decommissioned space shuttle. The system had to operate at an extremely high speed and altitude, during a long distance flight regime. The customer needed a 150 VDC EMA solution with high frequency response capable of many thousands of pounds of output force while operating at high speed, all while exposed to extreme environmental conditions. The customer required that development costs be kept to a minimum, necessitating the development of a single actuation system capable of providing all functionality to the rudders, elevons, and the upper and lower body flaps.
The actuators were created from a clean-sheet concept and evolved into delivered, fully-qualified, flight-ready Space hardware. Ingenium Aerospace realized that a structured approach to requirements definition and thorough analysis, coupled with experienced engineering were keys to success. The Ingenium team, utilizing customer provided flight simulation data for more than 200 missions, performed system modelling using a Monte Carlo-style analysis technique which provided worst-case duty cycle profiles at every instant during the flight. This was used as the basis for designing the common actuator the customer desired. Working cooperatively with the customer’s aerodynamicists and the flight control computer (FCC) provider, Ingenium’s product engineering team matured the requirements and finalized EMA performance details.
Results & Outcome
Ingenium Aerospace delivered a qualified, high-quality space-rated product for this vehicle. The units are flying successfully and a single actuator used in seven locations are supporting all mission objectives. The customer’s vehicles successfully flew and the program was deemed a success.