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Honeywell Actuators Will Help Spacecraft Dock at ISS

Honeywell Actuators Will Help Spacecraft Dock at ISS

NASA has launched a new commercial crew vessel, called Expedition 55, to the International Space Station (ISS). While Honeywell actuators are not on this particular Soyuz spacecraft, we’re keeping a close eye on its successful completion as we prepare for upcoming missions.

In particular, Honeywell berthing and docking system actuators will support docking of future commercial crew spacecraft being developed by Boeing and SpaceX who are preparing their vehicles for space in the coming year.

While Expedition 55 began in February 2018, it has only officially been underway with the March 26 arrival of two NASA astronauts and a cosmonaut who successfully boarded the space station after a roughly two-day trip from Earth.

The lengthy duration of the journey between Earth and ISS is not so much about distance and more about the careful maneuvering required for the crew capsule to successfully dock with the orbiting laboratory—which is where Honeywell actuator technology will play a crucial role.

An actuator is a type of motor that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system, typically operated by electric current, hydraulic fluid pressure or pneumatic pressure. Reliable steering controls are especially critical to precision directional control in space — one of the most challenging actuation applications.

Honeywell space actuation, thrust vector control actuators and electronic control systems are the most weight- and energy-efficient and reliable, built upon a legacy of over 30 platforms including the International Space Station, as well as systems which pioneered thrust vector controls on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle systems.

In fact, since 1998, Honeywell has supplied more than 1,900 components, comprising some 41 different types of products, to the (ISS). These product offerings span the U.S. from our Florida, Arizona and California facilities.

With strengths in space-rated actuators, brush motors, gear boxes, brakes and bearings as well as sophisticated test facilities, Honeywell has the demonstrated capability to support NASA programs.

Other Honeywell systems include guidance, navigation and control units that are critical to momentum control; command and data handling orbital replaceable units (ORUs); mechanisms that provide power and data transfers across rotating joints; and Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), thermal control, structures and mechanisms that are critical for environmental controls and life support—very handy for keeping the six crew members both productive and thriving.

Evangela Rodgers
Marketing Manager, Defense Aftermarket Americas
Evangela Rodgers has over 20 years of cross-functional marketing communications and strategy experience. She is currently the marketing manager for the Defense Aftermarket Americas business within Honeywell Aerospace; a portfolio that includes fixed and rotary wing systems and capabilities for Department of Defense platforms.


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