Northrop Grumman designs, develops, builds, and supports some of the world’s most advanced products. Onboard their cutting-edge aircraft and next-generation spacecraft, electromechanical switches, called relays, control mission-critical, high-powered circuits.
Unfortunately, relays are susceptible to failure from shock. As a result of the sudden acceleration experienced by a spacecraft during launch and stage separation, a relay can be triggered, and high-powered circuits onboard can be opened or closed unintentionally, wasting energy or disrupting operations. Our team has designed a revolutionary, bi-directional relay (BDR) that operates with a significantly lower probability of failure from shock than conventional relays. It utilizes an innovative, electromagnetic actuation system that mitigates the effect of shock along its critical axis, such that a unidirectional shock or centrifugal force cannot trigger the relay.