CORDIS - EU research results

REsettable Hold-Down and Release ACTuator

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - REACT (REsettable Hold-Down and Release ACTuator)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-09-30

Unrestricted access to Space low shock non-explosive actuators has been identified as an urgent action by the European Commission, the European Space Agency and the European Defence Agency. Project REACT is oriented to permit the unrestricted access of Europe to the technology of high reliable non-explosive actuators based on SMA (Shape Memory Alloy) technology. The REACT (REsettable Hold-Down and Release ACTuator) device is a new Hold Down and Release Actuator (HDRA) for space applications that has been developed as an improved alternative to currently available devices.
The project is focused on develop low shock resettable Hold Down and Release actuators and qualify them integrated in real space final user space applications that require this release devices, such as big structures deployment, space science payload subsystems deployment, launchers subsystems deployment and small satellites subsystems deployment.
The TRL (Technology Readiness Level) expected to be obtained once the project concluded shall be 8.
The REACT H2020 project was organized to effectively approach the development of a new technology of actuators from a safe and reliable approach. Key technology providers, experts in tribology (key science for the applications), and end users are involved within the development of the technology.
Arquimea planned to develop a novel technology to effectively provide a real European solution.
The development of the novel technology was conceived in such a way that all participants and activities provide a key feedback to the technology. Two development phases were agreed, EM and QM phases, in which all partners contribute to mature the technology and evaluate the adequacy of the resulting solution to final applications.

-Develop and qualify to TRL 8 low shock resettable Hold Down and Release actuators in real space applications in above mentioned 4 areas.
-Identify, generate and analyse between the members of the consortium the applications requirements definition.
-Propose, define and implement the production of optimized SMA materials and improvement of manufacturing techniques.
-Identify, optimize and characterize the tribology effects in vacuum of the actuators.
-Define, design and perform an In-Orbit test in the ISS of two standard 15 kN REACT devices.
-Design and manufacture Engineering Models (EM) specifically designed for each final application.
-Perform functional testing of Ems.
-Design and manufacture QM specifically designed for each final application with all the information obtained from preliminary activities.
-Perform qualification campaign including the REACT integrated in the final user subsystems.
-Analyse results and define final user recommendations.
-Prepare and perform dissemination and communication activities and exploitation plan in order to introduce the REACT in the space market.
WP1: Work has advanced in this period, with the development of an amendment to the contract. The work has been focused on the technical, financial and administrative management. Several meetings have been organized during the period.
WP2: The requirement definition was completed during first reporting period.
WP3: The work has advanced in the development of improved SMA alloys, in the preparation and improvement of manufacturing equipment and in the characterization of the produced alloys.
WP4: ESTL continued with their support of the EM redesign, and made progress with EM tribology testing as EM configuration matured.
With the evolution of the mechanical design and newly available test data, ESTL supported the selection and application processes of the selected lubricant. Once the necessary detailed design geometry and loading information was determined and communicated to ESTL, a comprehensive tribological analysis of the different model variants was performed, including a review of materials, processes and adherence to industry standards. Towards the end of this reporting period, the approach to testing was also considered and outline test configurations developed.
WP5: The EM models were designed and manufactured during the first and second periods. Activity has been covered with the completion of REACT and users’ systems, as well as the preparation of functional test plans. The activity has required an extra effort to cover a deeper redesign with respect to initial plan.
WP6: The functional testing of REACT and users’ systems has been covered during this phase. All the partners completed their testing activities, producing interesting results that have driven the redesign of QMs and have allowed a higher level of confidence in the new design.
WP7: In WP7 the redesign of REACT 5kN QM has been completed and the redesign of REACT 15kN and 35kN models have advanced, including feedback from REACT 5kN. The activity has evolved the designs, improved the analyses of the devices, the justification of calculations and the development of technical documentation for the products. The qualification test plans for REACT have been completed, while the users’ systems test plans preparation has started.
WP8: During this period, the qualification of REACT 5kN has started. The REACT 5kN Standard temperature has covered the main part of the qualification campaign with good results. The rest of equipment will completer their qualification during the coming months.
WP10: During this period, small advances have produced to the WP. Due to the delay in the activity and the change of perspectives of the ISS experiment, the activity had a reduced effort during the period, focused in the redefinition of the activity and the preparation for the development of the new flight units.
WP11: Activities have been focused to the communication of the project results to the main space stakeholders. An important increased in the activity impact has been identified after the results of the REACT EMs were produced. The consortium has worked in the maintenance of the the cost analyses, market analyses and exploitation plan.
Adapting from problems solved and changes implemented the project has produced a more ambitious impact. The redesign activity has produced an important delay, but the deep redesign has shown to be a good decision. It has required a significant increase in effort during the first phase of the project but has allowed to obtain more reliable products and better performances.

Having the valuable feedback of direct final users and experts leaded to a deep review of project devices being currently tested. This new design represents a highly competitive solution for the European market. Further than having an alternative solution to US devices (ITAR), the new design is expected to provide very good performances and characteristics.

As a result of the successful results of exhaustive EM testing campaign, the impact of the project has grown, generating an important increase in commercial activity and attracting wide attention from potential customers, even in development. Particularly significant is the qualification status of REACT 5kN, which is showing to have good results and is producing a lot of interest in system integrators in Europe and abroad.

The project is creating an impact in the scientific activities, improving the knowledge of space tribology and producing new shape memory alloys that can be applied to this and future developments both in space and in other markets.
REACT 5kN vibration test
REACT EM models
REACT EM vs QM model evolution
REACT Workflow chart
REACT Family evolution