Extreme conditions: Force transducers for space travel

In space, temperatures, pressures and forces will vary from those in the environments we have been familiar with. Which means that measurement technology ?up there? is exposed to specific stresses. WIKA has developed, tested and supplied special force transducers for space travel. These are customer-specific load pins that have now proven themselves on a flight into space.
Space travel is definitely commercialised, and concepts for space tourism are taking shape. In the development departments of the space industry, plans are maturing for new generations of launch vehicles and other transporters for multiple, and therefore resource-saving, missions. To bring passengers, crew and vehicles safely back to earth, sophisticated technology, reliable atlanta divorce attorneys situation, is indispensable.
A central role is played by the flight control system, which ensures the right orientation of the spacecraft for safe missions into space and back. Load pins are critical components for this. They must measure precisely the forces functioning on the flight control surfaces of the spacecraft. Conventional load pins aren’t up to this task ? the criteria for spacecraft force transducers are too demanding for them.
Requirements for force transducers in space travel
In the seek out load pins suitable for space, an aerospace company had initially enquired with another manufacturer. But this supplier was not able to meet up with the extraordinary requirements. The load pins would have to:
function reliably at extremely cold temperatures (right down to -65 �C)
withstand very high loads and be fatigue-proof
have very compact dimensions (the diameter of the measuring bore was just 8 mm)
Many years of experience with load pins and miniaturisation
WIKA has developed and built this version of a load pin for a space mission.
In the end, the drawings, technical data and test requirements finished up at WIKA. Because of Still of experience, both with load pins and in addition in instrument miniaturisation, WIKA?s force measurement experts succeeded in developing and manufacturing the products that the client had wanted.
But that was only the first challenge. The next was to subject the load pins to a variety of tests in order to guarantee, with absolute certainty, they would function correctly in space. However, the testing facilities necessary for this weren’t available, neither internally nor externally. Just how could the extreme operating conditions of the sensors be simulated?
Special test equipment for the space-travel force transducers
There was only 1 answer: WIKA had to create and build its special test facility with a heating chamber and an adjustment and calibration machine. It had to be able to:
apply an alternating load of 23,860 kg every seven seconds
maintain an interior temperature of -65 �C
This new equipment ultimately provided proof that the load pins maintained the required measuring quality, even with 100,000 test cycles at the mandatory low temperature. This is then also demonstrated in the application: The control surfaces of the spacecraft functioned perfectly and enabled a safe flight into space and back.
Measuring solutions for aviation too
Along with space flight, WIKA also serves the aviation industry with specific measurement solutions. One of these of this may be the development of a force transducer as part of the European ?Clean Sky? programme, which aims to reduce emissions from aircraft. WIKA also supplies DirectDrive pressure gauges for oxygen systems and pressure transducers for ice detection in jet engines.
Note
Further information on load pins along with other force measurement technology for extreme conditions, for example ring force transducers and strain transducers, can be found on the WIKA website. You can also download a brochure with a concise summary of WIKA?s force measurement technology. In case you have any questions, your contact will gladly help you.
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