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National Space Symposium

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News / Articles

1140x570 NEWS GOCE MFV ArticleDriving Electric Propulsion in NexGen Satellites

A unique multi-function valve made a big difference in the GOCE mission, optimizing thrust control that improved the performance and extended the life of the mission. Now Spacebus Neo, Europe’s next generation platform of telecom satellites, is capitalizing on this technology as part of a Xenon Pressure Regulation Assembly, simplifying electric propulsion systems…

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1140x570 NEWS NEOSATMarotta Joins Spacebus Neo Development Team 

Marotta Controls has been awarded a contract from Thales Alenia Space UK Ltd. to develop the Xenon Pressure Regulation Assembly (XPRA) for the electric propulsion system of its new Spacebus Neo satellite platform.  

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Space Prop with Border

Upcoming Papers

Space Propulsion 2016 – May 2-6, 2016 – Rome 

Abstract:  Electronically Controlled, Piezo-Actuated, 10,000 psi Regulator 

Abstract:  Marotta Controls has developed an electrically controlled pressure regulator suitable for spaceflight, defense and facility applications. Through a closed loop electronic control system controlling piezo actuated pilot valves, the regulator constantly measures actual downstream outlet pressure and adjusts to changing inlet conditions, resulting in an accurate outlet pressure insensitive to inlet pressure, flow rate and temperature. The initial application is for human-rated space flight applications and can be easily adapted to different performance requirements as needed. Extensive use of titanium alloys and optimized geometries results in a light-weight product weighing under 8.5 lbm (3.9 kg) inclusive of the control electronics and interconnections. The regulator is normally-closed and therefore capable of acting as an isolation valve. It has been successfully tested at inlet pressure up to 10,000 psi and mass flows of greater than 5 lbm/s (2.7 kg/s) of Helium and 10 lbm/s (4.5 kg/s) of Nitrogen. 

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Abstract:  Regulator for Xenon Feed System

New propulsion capabilities necessary for all-electric satellites require advanced pressure feedback control systems with higher flow rates, particularly for electric orbit raising up to the geostationary ring. Electronic pressure regulation offers advantages in accuracy, remote adjustability, robustness, and lifetime stability when compared with equivalent mechanical regulators. Regulating xenon gas for propellant feed systems has particular challenges in this specific application due to Joule-Thompson cooling and the resulting 2-phase flow. This paper presents the development of a single-stage, cold-redundant, standalone electronic pressure regulation system which throttles xenon propellant flow using a normally-closed magnetostrictively-actuated proportional control valve operates with a dedicated electronic control unit. This paper will also emphasize design driver and system architecture with a focus on pressure control and thermal control aspects. The design, analysis, and extensive verification testing  will be described, and system models will be introduced to provide a correlation with test results and o support the product validation. 

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