New Technology Fuels Introduction of our New Type 3 Actuator

January 15, 2019

In this blog we met with Armond Asadurian, one of the engineers at Moog, to learn more about the new Type 3 Actuator. He explained that this actuator has improved performance and advantages that our customers can expect to see, and as such, is called the Ultra Performance Type 3 or UPT3 for short.

Why did we develop this UPT3 actuator?

In the space business, it can be difficult to introduce new technologies into actuation devices because the customer is committed to a heritage product. These heritage solutions have been successful on past space missions and are relied upon for future missions.  Often, it is difficult to convince customers that newer technology may be incorporated into existing designs, to achieve higher reliability and performance. Moog understands that design evolution  is an imperative, as customers and the space industry as a whole, endeavor to accomplish more challenging goals. The genesis of the UPT3 actuator came from Moog recognizing the need to utilize and implement new technologies to increase performance for the customer, while remaining cost competitive in the market.

How is the UPT3 actuator different from a performance aspect?

Physical challenges were a hurdle because we needed to meet the envelope requirements of existing spacecraft. We had to be transparent with our customers, as we integrated into their systems. We set a target for the new  actuator to produce 3-4 times the performance parameters of the existing Type 3 actuator. These performance standards, along with newly implemented technologies, minimize the cost of manufacture and test, shorten delivery time and ultimately result in a cost savings for the customer.

There are several enhancement to key features of the UPT3. This design  incorporates internal heaters and internal thermistors which provide the ability to  “plug and play“ with much higher built in capability. We have implemented a through hole opening in the center of the actuator, allowing the UPT3 to be used in other applications on board a spacecraft, like Solar Array Drive Assemblies and RF Feedthroughs. Another innovative  feature is the introduction of a Quiesence Potentiometer. This noise free technology virtually eliminates signal dropouts, correcting a weakness in current potentiometers, which can develop signal drop outs over time and operation.

Now what?

The roll out of this enhanced actuator has now opened the door for new and existing customers to review the data, which will instill confidence that our UPT3 actuator is a step above heritage Type 3’s, while still maintaining a competitive cost. It can fit within existing packages without any change from the customer and will be 3-4 times more capable than past heritage actuators. Traditionally our Type 3’s have been used for antenna pointing applications, and we want to continue that success while broadening the target market for this actuator, so it may be used in other applications like solar array drives and high precision scientific payloads. We have achieved a much smaller output resolution so we believe it has potential for use in multiple fine pointing instrument applications as well. We have literature for our customers to download and see the advantages this UPT3 will bring. More information can be found at

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