In the space industry there exists a number of key market drivers, among the most important of which is fuel economy. Fuel is expected to last for long space missions, as there will unlikely be any opportunities to fill up on route! The upshot is that fluid system components for space vehicles need to be both lightweight and compact, without compromising vital design requirements such as reliability and safety.
With these thoughts in mind, the experienced team of specialist engineers at The Lee Company has developed an entire range of miniature fluid system components intended to help designers working across all segments of the space industry. Each product has been devised to overcome the common challenges faced when trying to meet space, quality and cost demands.
A case in point is our world-famous Lee Plug®, which permits the plugging of drilled holes without needing welds, sealants or O-rings, while our Restrictors are 100% tested for precise flow metering within tolerances as tight as ±2%. We can also supply class-leading Nozzles tested for their flow and target-hitting capabilities.
Additional innovations from The Lee Company include Chek® Valves, which have been developed to eradicate backflow with minimal flow restriction in the most compact possible package. What’s more, flow control components such as our Restrictor Cheks® function as a restrictor and check valve in series. Also available are Shuttle Valves, which provide emergency system isolation or mode-select functions in diameters that extend from 4.75 to 12.7 mm.
In the space sector, the launch vehicle/engine has many applications that require the latest miniature hydraulic solutions, not least fuel/pneumatic control lines, thrust vector control systems, isolation/control valves, stage/fairing separation systems, heat exchangers and gas generators, to list but a few.
Another notable innovation that can help fulfil such tasks is the Lee Relief Valve, which is designed to deliver a variety of specific pressure relief needs, while our Safety Screens provide last-chance protection against contamination. In addition, we can supply Solenoid Valves that utilise the patented Lee Multiseal™ to offer the smallest solenoid on the market, as well as our Positive Displacement Pumps, which feature a radial piston design with integrated brushless DC motor.
Aside from the launch vehicle/engine, compact fluid system components are also required by space capsules, especially in systems for landing, orbital manoeuvring, oxygen supply and launch abort. Propulsion systems in satellites are a further example that highlight the need for high-quality components like restrictors, solenoid valves, check valves, relief valves and safety screens.
Some describe space as the final frontier, but at The Lee Company we like to boldly go where others fear to tread.
If you’d like to discover more about our miniature fluid control innovations and how they can benefit your space project, please contact us.