Thin Wing Flight Control Actuators
project name

Thin Wing Flight Control Actuators

Primary Flight Controls for an Unmanned Space Vehicle


Primary flight controls for an advanced fully reusable unmanned space vehicle that is vertically launched and reaches hypersonic speeds during return flight.

Problem Statement
The aircraft profile and optimized aerodynamics conducted by the airframer resulted in very small space claims for the Electromechanical Actuators (EMAs) to provide the high hinge moments and surface rates demanded for the flight profile. The actuators were packaged to fit a thin wing configuration for the wings and vertical stabilizers. Aircraft fuselage mounted control surfaces such as speedbrakes and elevator also had small envelope allotments. The Ingenium Aerospace solution had to satisfy all performance demands, be weight optimized, robust, and reliable to support the projected high flight usage rate of 10 space flights in 10 days.

Electric Geared Rotary Actuators (E-GRA) proved an ideal solution for all flight control locations on the spaceplane. Through detailed trade studies and analyses, Ingenium engineers determined and proposed the best combination of E-GRA gear stages, electric motor sizing, redundancy, and fail-safe devices to meet the customers demand for proper function to drive large inertial loads and meet probability loss of control (PLOC).

Results & Outcome
Analysis confirmed that Ingenium’s E-GRA suite would satisfy hinge moments, speeds, and all other performance parameters for the spaceplane flight control system. Prior tests of subassemblies supported the analytical tools and conclusions. From a cost saving perspective, and where performance and safety were not compromised on the spaceplane, Ingenium designers and engineers analyzed common E-GRA segments across all the flight control surfaces. This study saved the program and customer money by reducing design time, test time, and lower unit prices through the ‘economy of scale’ in acquiring and producing common elements of the E-GRA.