The first week of September, the French organisation ONERA performed the successful flight test of the so-called ALTAIR project. ARQUIMEA is the supplier of the Hold-Down and Release Mechanism (HDRM), consisting of two REACT devices controlled by an electronic system for synchronized activation. The REACTs are space-qualified actuators that use shape memory alloys (SMA) as trigger mechanism. Their main advantages are the high force-to-weight ratio, high reliability, low volume, immunity against electromagnetic interference and functional capacity over an extended temperature range, thanks to the use of SMARQ, the exclusive SMA material from ARQUIMEA. Within this technology, ARQUIMEA offers cutting-edge off-the-shelf and custom actuators and mechanisms for space applications.
ALTAIR (Air Launch space Transportation using an Automated aircraft and an Innovative Rocket) is a European H2020 project coordinated by ONERA, involving partners from six countries and aiming to develop and validate a cost-effective and reliable space launch system based on an unmanned aircraft carrier releasing a micro-launcher for small satellite access to LEO. This launcher will use an environmentally friendly hybrid propulsion, advanced lightweight composite structures, innovative avionics and an upper stage providing mission versatility. The architecture of the ground systems will target cost‐effective operations.
The result of the flight test and ARQUIMEA’s HDRM controlled performance system were successful. This is a great milestone for ARQUIMEA, as it is the first time that its REACTs have been used in an actual in-flight application, with the added complexity of controlled activation. This achievement implies the consolidation of ARQUIMEA as one of the leading companies in the design and supply of mechanisms for the Aerospace sector.