Rocket launching

The Challenge:

Our aerospace customer challenged us with designing and manufacturing a trailer-mounted, portable environmental control system (PECS) that was self-powered (generators included) with 100% redundancy. The PECS needed to condition the rocket on the way to the launchpad. The aerospace environmental control unit (ECU) needed to control temperature to ±2°F and keep humidity levels between 10%-50% RH at any temperature in the range (45-95°F). In addition, the aerospace ECU needed to prevent contamination of the payload by ensuring tight control of particle cleanliness as well as removal of hydrocarbons. Lastly, the system needed Wi-Fi communication of all systems for remote control capabilities.

The Solution:

Air Innovations designed a self-contained aerospace environmental control unit that could regulate humidity between 10%-50% RH and control temperature output to ±2°F. The system was portable and trailer-mounted with 100% outside air supplied for continuous temperature and humidity control to the Payload Fairing. We achieved automatic control of the airflow characteristics by using programmable logic controllers which can be set by the operator. This aerospace ECU is the largest cooling system Air Innovations has designed and manufactured, requiring 553-2,133 SCFM ±67 SCFM.

The ECU has dehumidification ability with “%RH” or “Dewpoint” modes of control. In “%RH” mode, the unit will be able to provide outlet air at 10%-50% RH at any included selected temperature/flow rate. The “Dewpoint” mode includes desiccant reactivation and provides outlet air at a selectable 25-42.5°F dp at any included temperature/flow rate.

Download our aerospace whitepaper: Neutralizing Nature

“I’m really impressed with the how the unit is responding to the test parameters, and the recovery times are exceptionally impressive. Your attention to detail and expertise is very evident with how the PECS is performing during this final test phase.”

-Ed Duben, Mission Management, United Launch Alliance

The Result:

  • A portable environmental control system with temperature control between 45-95°F to within ±2°F
  • Humidity control between 10%-50% RH
  • 40 to 160 lb/min, controlled to within 5lb/min airflow rates
  • 36wg external positive static pressure
  • ISO Class 5 air cleanliness
  • Ambient design operating conditions 81°F wb to 96°F db in summer and 29°F wb to 30°F db in winter
  • 100% Redundancy (No shared components or controls and both units operate at 100% flow and control continuously so that switch-over is instantaneous)

If you are interested in reading more case studies for the aerospace industry, look at the related case studies below. If you would like to see case studies for other industries, view our general case studies page. We also have whitepapers available covering the aerospace industry, the semiconductor industry, and our Micro Environments product line. These whitepapers can be found here.