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Power Transfer within Space mechanisms, such as Solar Array Drive Mechanism (SADM), is in principle insured by a contact technology.
These components known as Slip Rings are of two types: Cylindrical and Pancake.
The proposed activity is to develop an advanced cylindrical Slip Ring unit compatible with High Voltage bus operating at 400V to cover next generation of High Voltage – High Power Mechanisms. At this operating voltage, the growing demand to increase the power of spacecraft (>10kW) could be achieved providing several benefits. However, the slip ring design must take care of arc discharge phenomena during launch phase and overall spacecraft lifetime.
Therefore the objectives of this activity are to develop, manufacture and test a Breadboard Model in a relevant environment in order to demonstrate the outstanding electrical performances of this new product but also to assess the voltage margin defined by this advanced design.
The main challenges of the development are related to :
The main benefits brought by this product is to transmit high power (>20kW) with high voltage bus from the solar panels to the spacecraft resulting in major energy/mass saving, and enabling a direct drive for high power electrical systems.
Direct drive idea has been around since at least 1970. The key motivation in developing direct drive is to significantly reduce the mass of high-power, solar electric propulsion vehicles by eliminating most of the heavy, expensive power-conditioning electronics between the solar array and the electric thrusters.
Furthermore, recent spacecraft tend to perform multiple missions to reduce launch cost. To adapt to the objective of multiple missions, the size of spacecraft is getting bigger as well as their power level (>50kW), requiring high voltage – high power Solar Array Drive Mechanism.
High voltage slip ring provides operating voltage up to 400V with a minimum power capability of 20kW. The key features of this high voltage slip ring is the optimization of its design as a generic building block (modular approach) to enhance electrical performances while considering mass, volume, external environment and also depending on the final platform/mission power need.
The advanced cylindrical slip ring is composed of two main sub-assembly :
The contact between stator and rotor is ensured by wire brushes, soldered at stator side on a PCB and preloaded to be in contact during all the life time with the track. Rings shape, brushes position and casing will be optimized to enhance electrical performances at high voltage.
Main project milestones are :
APRIOM project has just kicked off and is initiating to capture platform requirements that can impact the design and the electrical performances of the high voltage slip ring.