Control System Solutions for Unmanned Systems, Control Actuation Systems & Power Electronics

Dual Pressure Controller for Rocket Engines Launched

By Mike Ball / 16 Feb 2022

Talon unmanned rocket testbed vehicle

Marotta Controls has launched a new Dual Pressure Controller (DPC) with embedded software that provides more efficient valve command and control for any rocket engine operating within Earth’s atmosphere or outer space. The controller, which is configured to withstand hypersonic vehicle internal environments, was originally designed and developed for Stratolaunch’s Talon-A, a Mach 6-class unmanned vehicle designed to make hypersonic testing more routine.

The DPC is the first device of its kind developed by Marotta. Whereas similar incumbent solutions were typically built to individual vehicle specifications, Marotta’s design is applicable to any application requiring nuanced control of pressurized fuel and oxidizer delivery and can easily adjust to various customer requirements. The controller supports up to four CoRe solenoid valves in a small, lightweight form factor. Tested in house by Marotta for performance and reliability in hypersonic use cases, the device meets IPC-610 Class 3 standards for defense and space applications.

The DPC’s key features and capabilities remove risk and variability from the pressure control function while simplifying hardware management, and include:

  • Easy, flexible pressure limit setting
  • Dynamic system pressure monitoring
  • Rapid fault handling
  • Quicker valve open/close
  • Low power consumption
  • Flight computer integration

Brandon Wood, Hypersonics Program Director at Stratolaunch, commented: “We relied on Marotta’s expertise to quickly create a pressure controller for the Talon-A propulsion system. The Marotta Controls development team was responsive and effective. The resulting DPC capabilities mitigate risk and simplify our vehicle management system. We look forward to continued ground tests and later flight tests of the DPC in our Talon-A hypersonic vehicles.”

Max Wolfinger, Vice President of Space Systems at Marotta Controls, stated: “The DPC combines our legacy knowledge in flow control valves with our growing experience in the field of embedded electronic system development. Our collaboration with Stratolaunch was key to us successfully developing an optimized design. There’s an increasing desire in the defense and aerospace industries to offload design and development of components that can be and, essentially, should be self-contained for safety and performance reasons. This practice speeds time to market for missile systems, aircraft, spacecraft, and other rocket-engine-based vehicles and is a driver behind Marotta Controls developing quality solutions suitable for mass production.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact