sabca-logoSABCA (Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques) is one of the main aerospace companies in Belgium. Founded in 1920, it has built an extensive and varied know-how based on its 95 years experience in designing, building and upgrading large and complex elements for aircraft and space launchers. Their customers and partners belong to the elite of the aerospace world and are spread worldwide. They include such household names as Airbus (major airframe components for the A380, the A320 family, the A340, A350 and the A330 NEO), Dassault Aviation (major airframe components for the 5X business jet and flight controls for the F900, F2000, F7X and F8X) and Gulfstream (G650 business jet airframe components). SABCA is also a key global player for the Depot-level maintenance and upgrade of F-16 aircraft, serving nine different F-16 customers around the world including the USAF.

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Arianespace Vega Launch Vehicle

SABCA is a key supplier to Arianespace and this is their most important customer from American Aerospace Control’s (AAC) point of view. More than half of the commercial satellites in service today were launched by Arianespace. SABCA makes the Thrust Vectoring Control System (TVCS) for the Vega and a variety of thrust vectoring components for the Ariane 5.

AAC provides current sensors that are used in the Vega TVCS to monitor the current demand of the actuators that control the rocket nozzles in each of the three stages, There are five sensors in P80, the first stage, measuring currents as high as 400 amps (in an overload scenario) and five more in each of Zephiro23 (second stage) and Zephiro09 (third stage), measuring currents as high as 200 amps.

The TVCS controls the pointing angle of the rocket nozzle at the base of each stage in response to control signals from the flight guidance computer. The pointing angle of nozzles must be controlled very accurately – its like balancing a broomstick on the end of your finger. The AAC sensors are part of the control system feedback loop that ensures that these nozzles are pointed in the right direction so that the payload ends up at the right point in space.

AAC is proud to be supporting SABCA and Arianespace in their efforts to provide reliable launch services for satellite operators from around the globe. AAC has been providing high-reliability current and voltage sensors for demanding aerospace, military, rail and industrial applications for over 50 years.