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High redundancy electromechanical actuator for thrust vector control of a launch vehicle

Biju Prasad B. (Electromechanical Actuation Systems Division, Control Actuation Systems Group, Avionics Entity, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Indian Space Research Organisation, Thiruvananthapuram, India)
Biju N. (Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, Kerala, India)
Radhakrishna Panicker M.R. (Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, Kerala, India)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 28 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to design an electromechanical actuator which can inherently tolerate a stuck or loose failure without any need for fault detection isolation and reconfiguration.

Design/methodology/approach

Generalized design methodology for a thrust vector control application is adopted to reduce the design iterations during the initial stages of the design. An optimum ball screw pitch is selected to minimize the motor sizing and maximize the load acceleration.

Findings

A high redundancy electromechanical actuator for thrust vector control has lower self-inertia and higher reliability than a direct drive simplex configuration. This configuration is a feasible solution for thrust vector control application because it offers a more acceptable and graceful degradation than a complete failure.

Research limitations/implications

Future work will include testing on actual hardware to study the transient disturbances caused by a fault and their effect on launch vehicle dynamics.

Practical implications

High redundancy electromechanical actuator concept can be extended to similar applications such as solid motor nozzle in satellite launch vehicles and primary flight control system in aircraft.

Social implications

High redundancy actuators can be useful in safety critical applications involving human beings. It can also reduce the machine downtime in industrial process automation.

Originality/value

The jam tolerant electromechanical actuator proposed for the launch vehicle application has a unique configuration which does not require a complex fault detection isolation and reconfiguration logic in the controller. This enhances the system reliability and allows a simplex controller having a lower cost.

Keywords

Citation

B., B.P., N., B. and M.R., R.P. (2019), "High redundancy electromechanical actuator for thrust vector control of a launch vehicle", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 91 No. 8, pp. 1122-1132. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-06-2018-0165

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited