Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) Designed for Use with Electric Solid Propellants

The solid rocket motor can be electrically pulsed a number of times to produce a required thrust or impulse bit.

The multi-pulse motor is a solid-propellant rocket motor that is able to produce a number of pulses for various thrust levels (5 to 30 pulses and thrusts between 0.25 and 1.5 N, depending on electric power delivery system) and can be turned on and off through the application of electrical power.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Propulsion, Solid propellants, Rocket engines

Adaptive Augmenting Control

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

Adaptive augmenting control (AAC) is a forward gain, multiplicative adaptive algorithm for launch vehicle flight control that meets three summary-level design objectives: Do no harm — return to baseline control design when not needed; respond to errors in the ability of the vehicle to track commands to increase performance; and respond to undesirable parasitic dynamics (e.g., control-structure interaction) to maintain stability.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion, Adaptive control, Flight control systems, Adaptive control, Flight control systems, Launch vehicles

Servo Drive

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) offers the NANO Gold Twitter servo drive that delivers up to 4000 Watts of qualitative power, current up to 50A at 100VDC, and up to 15A/200V with advanced servo capabilities and support for EtherCAT or CANopen networking communication. It weighs 18 grams, is less than 13 cm3 in volume, and complies to safety, EMC, and environmental standards.

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Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power Transmission

Pyramid Micro-Electrofluidic-Spray Propulsion Thruster with Integrated Attitude and Thrust Vector Control

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

A micro-electrofluidic-spray propulsion (MEP) system was built on a micro scale, in which arrays of hundreds of nano-thrusters are etched on silicon wafers like ICs, only a centimeter on a side. Many dozens of these thruster chips can be arrayed to form a macro-thruster of finite and significant thrust. Approximately 300 centimeter-square, 100-micro-Newton micro-thrusters are arrayed in a square pyramidal structure. The pyramid is of shallow obliquity, with no more than 20° offset from the spacecraft face. This small angular offset is sufficient to provide thrust vector control (TVC) for the thruster.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Mechanical Components, Nanotechnology, Propulsion, Semiconductors & ICs

Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than milliseconds, and provide low acceleration (such as might be needed to launch an aircraft) rather than the extreme accelerations seen in the guns. The final system operates off of relatively low voltages (tens of volts), but with substantial currents. A lab bench prototype has been constructed and operated, demonstrating 13 Gs acceleration of a small 230-gram sled.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Propulsion, Aircraft, Launch vehicles

Using Harmonics to Control Flutter in Wings with Electrical Motors

This control system concept applies principles of forced aeroelasticity to distributed electric propulsion systems.

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California

As aeronautics engineers develop innovative distributed electric propulsion systems, they face new challenges in ensuring that these innovative aircraft are safe as well as fuel efficient. In particular, these systems involve a large number of electrically driven fan motors mounted across a wing that induce vibrations that negatively affect the aircraft’s stability. These vibrations cause problems regardless of whether the motors are bottom-mounted, top-mounted, or wing-embedded.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Propulsion, Vibration, Vibration, Electric motors, Fans

Micropulse Detonation Rocket Engine for Nano-Satellite Propulsion

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

An efficient propulsion system would use a micropulse detonation rocket engine (–PDRE) for nano-satellite maneuverability in space. Technical objectives are to design, build, and conduct a small detonation tube experiment in order to explore the feasibility of using –PDRE for propelling a nano-satellite. The plan is to study the requirement and predict the performance of –PDRE using various candidate propellants, as well as to conduct ground experiments, demonstrate useful thrust, and measure the specific impulse in a two-year time frame, so that a follow-on project can be proposed in a future NRI Center Innovation Fund.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aeronautics, Motion Control, Propulsion, Automation, Propellants, Rocket engines, Satellites

Experimental Testbed for 1-MW Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Aircraft

A low-cost glider design mitigates risk in conducting experiments for cutting-edge “green” aircraft concepts.

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a concept aircraft for testing turbo-electric distributed propulsion (TeDP) experiments. TeDP generally involves providing thrust to an aircraft via wing-mounted ducted electric fans, which consist of an electric motor, a fan, stators, and other components surrounded by cylindrical ducting within a fan case. The fan motors are powered by a combined battery and turboelectric generator system. To sufficiently power an aircraft approximately 50 ft (≈15 m) in length and with a gross weight of 25,000 lb (≈11,340 kg), this system must be capable of generating 1 MW of power.

Posted in: Briefs, Aviation, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Propulsion, Wings, Electric motors, Fans

Propellant Loading Visualization Software

Monitoring of complex propulsion pressure systems has been simplified with colors.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Complex pressure systems are utilized during testing in the propulsion branch as well as during the propellant loading stage of a mission. Keeping track of the state of such a system becomes more difficult as the complexity of such a system increases, and when extensive procedures are being followed. A book-keeping system is needed for visualizing these complex systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Motion Control, Propulsion, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Propellants

Aircraft with Hybrid Engine Can Recharge in Flight

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested the first aircraft to be powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, where an electric motor and gas engine work together to drive the propeller. The demonstrator aircraft uses up to 30% less fuel than a comparable plane with a gas-only engine. The aircraft is also able to recharge its batteries in flight, the first time this has been achieved.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Green Design & Manufacturing, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission

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