European Space Agency

New actuator from SENER holds industry attention


The new DTA. Image copyright: SENER

With the support of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), the Spanish company SENER has developed and qualified a Detent high Torque rotary Actuator (DTA) at both the component and mechanism levels of an actuator, in order to deploy and to hold the mechanism when no power is applied. Typical applications are for Antenna Pointing Mechanisms as well as in Electric Propulsion Pointing Mechanisms on telecommunications satellites.

This highly competitive and fully European technology for a rotary actuator, usable for the operation of reconfigurable appendages or payloads on board telecom satellite platforms, was achieved with two configurations that were developed in order to allow their use on a specific application flight opportunity: these are classified as DTA 100 and DTA 120.

Both actuators provide a very high, unpowered holding torque (over 25 Nm) for all operating temperatures, remaining constant over the satellite lifetime and thereby fulfilling the most important requirement of this development. Both actuators also provide an excellent positioning measurement, by means of two fully redundant sensors (potentiometers/CAPS) and have temperature control by means of motor windings embedded thermistors. Both actuators passed an extensive lifetime test of more than 56.8 M steps / 355,000 output degrees of in-orbit cycling. Both actuators are now part of SENER’s family of next generation actuators.

Within the frame of ESA’s ARTES Eurostar Neo programme, SENER has further developed an evolution of these actuators (defined as DTA12-120-1). Airbus Defence & Space has baselined the SENER actuators for the motion of the Deployable Electric Propulsion System (DPS) on the Eurostar Neo Platform.

The actuator is now in series production, to fly on all future Eurostar Neo based missions.

SENER’s vertical integration of design activities at component and part level, and the SENER DTA modular architecture, allows the quick and straightforward development of new variants. Additional components of the DTA family are now under development at different TRL stages for different spacecraft applications.

ESA Partnership Projects, as part of the ARTES programme, allow the development of sustainable, end-to-end systems up to the point of in-orbit validation. At the same time they help to federate industry around large-scale programmes and to achieve not only technical leaps forward but also positive economic impact.

Published 01 April 2019
Last updated at 02 April 2019 - 09:12