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Integrated Flight Control and Actuator Health Management Meeting

Kai Goebel and Edward Balaban, members of the Diagnostic & Prognostic Group and the Prognostics Center of Excellence at NASA Ames Research Center, took part in a review meeting for the Integrated Flight Control and Actuator Health Management (IFCAHM) program, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The project is led by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC); other participants include the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Moog Corporation.

The IFCAHM program pursues development of a prognostic health management (PHM) system for electro-mechanical actuators (EMAs) based on Kalman and particle filters. Another activity conducted under the program is development of reconfigurable control algorithms. The program makes use of legacy actuators and support equipment from NASA’s X-38 program, as well as off-the-shelf, industrial brushless electrical motors. During the course of the two-day meeting, Northrop Grumman presented the current status of work on X-38 EMA experiments, interfaces to flight profile simulators, fault insertion, and test setup. Team members from Georgia Tech gave talks on EMA fault diagnosis and reconfigurable control. AFRL representative J. B. Schroeder described a health management reasoner developed by his organization and the overall architecture of the IFCAHM system. Participants were also shown a demonstration of an actuator gearbox test stand in the Northrop Grumman system health management laboratory.

In the closing presentation of the meeting, Balaban gave an overview of the EMA prognostics effort at NASA Ames, which was followed by a discussion of the next steps in the NGC work, the role of PHM systems in the F-35 program, and potential avenues of further collaboration between NGC, AFRL, and NASA.

BACKGROUND: Electro-mechanical actuators (EMAs) are presently used in numerous aerospace applications, from robotic applications to thrust vector control of rocket engines, where they accomplish a range of rotational and translational functions. With an increasing tendency to move to all-electric aircraft and spacecraft designs (i.e., no hydraulic systems), even wider EMA use is likely in the future. Research being conducted in the Diagnostic and Prognostic Group aims to increase reliability and fault tolerance of EMAs by supplementing their mechanical, electrical, and electronic subsystems with comprehensive prognostic health management (PHM) modules.

COLLABORATORS: Northrop Grumman Corporation, Air Force Research Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, Impact Technologies, Moog Corporation


Contact: Edward Balaban


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