An Electromechanical Actuation System for an Expendable Launch Vehicle
Published August 3, 1992 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
A major effort at the NASA Lewis Research Center in recent years has been to develop electromechanical actuators (EMA's) to replace the hydraulic systems used for thrust vector control (TVC) on launch vehicles. This is an attempt to overcome the inherent inefficiencies and costs associated with the existing hydraulic structures. General Dynamics Space Systems Division, under contract to NASA Lewis, is developing 18.6 kW (25 hp), 29.8 kW (40 hp), and 52.2 kW (70 hp) peak EMA systems to meet the power demands for TVC on a family of vehicles developed for the National Launch System. These systems utilize a pulse population modulated converter and field-oriented control scheme to obtain independent control of both the voltage and frequency. These techniques allow an induction motor to be operated at its maximum torque at all times. At NASA Lewis, we are building on this technology to develop our own in-house system capable of meeting the peak power requirements for an expendable launch vehicle (ELV) such as the Atlas. Our EMA will be capable of delivering 22.4 kW (30 hp) peak power with a nominal of 6.0 kW (8 hp). This system differs from the previous ones in two areas: 1) the use of advanced control methods, and 2) the incorporation of built-in-test. The advanced controls are essential for minimizing the controller size, while the built-in-test is necessary to enhance the system reliability and vehicle health monitoring.
The ultimate goal of this program is to demonstrate an EMA which will be capable of self-test and easy integration into other projects. This paper will describe the effort underway at NASA Lewis to develop an EMA for an Atlas class ELV. An explanation will be given for each major technology block, and the status of the overall program will be reported.