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Hydraulic Power Units

There are two self- contained, independent HPUs on each SRB. Each HPU consists of an auxiliary power unit, fuel supply module, hydraulic pump, hydraulic reservoir and hydraulic fluid manifold assembly. The APUs are fueled by hydrazine and generate mechanical shaft power to a hydraulic pump that produces hydraulic pressure for the SRB hydraulic system. The two separate HPUs and two hydraulic systems are located on the aft end of each SRB between the SRB nozzle and aft skirt. The HPU components are mounted on the aft skirt between the rock and tilt actuators. The two systems operate from T minus 28 seconds until SRB separation from the orbiter and external tank. The two independent hydraulic systems are connected to the rock and tilt servoactuators.

The APU controller electronics are located in the SRB aft integrated electronic assemblies on the aft external tank attach rings.

The APUs and their fuel systems are isolated from each other. Each fuel supply module (tank) contains 22 pounds of hydrazine. The fuel tank is pressurized with gaseous nitrogen at 400 psi, which provides the force to expel (positive expulsion) the fuel from the tank to the fuel distribution line, maintaining a positive fuel supply to the APU throughout its operation.

The fuel isolation valve is opened at APU startup to allow fuel to flow to the APU fuel pump and control valves and then to the gas generator. The gas generator's catalytic action decomposes the fuel and creates a hot gas. It feeds the hot gas exhaust product to the APU two- stage gas turbine. Fuel flows primarily through the startup bypass line until the APU speed is such that the fuel pump outlet pressure is greater than the bypass line's. Then all the fuel is supplied to the fuel pump.

The APU turbine assembly provides mechanical power to the APU gearbox. The gearbox drives the APU fuel pump, hydraulic pump and lube oil pump. The APU lube oil pump lubricates the gearbox. The turbine exhaust of each APU flows over the exterior of the gas generator, cooling it, and is then directed overboard through an exhaust duct.

When the APU speed reaches 100 percent, the APU primary control valve closes, and the APU speed is controlled by the APU controller electronics. If the primary control valve logic fails to the open state, the secondary control valve assumes control of the APU at 112-percent speed.

Each HPU on an SRB is connected to both servoactuators on that SRB. One HPU serves as the primary hydraulic source for the servoactuator, and the other HPU serves as the secondary hydraulics for the servoactuator. Each sevoactuator has a switching valve that allows the secondary hydraulics to power the actuator if the primary hydraulic pressure drops below 2,050 psi. A switch contact on the switching valve will close when the valve is in the secondary position. When the valve is closed, a signal is sent to the APU controller that inhibits the 100-percent APU speed control logic and enables the 112-percent APU speed control logic. The 100-percent APU speed enables one APU/HPU to supply sufficient operating hydraulic pressure to both servoactuators of that SRB.

The APU 100-percent speed corresponds to 72,000 rpm, 110-percent to 79,200 rpm, and 112-percent to 80,640 rpm.

The hydraulic pump speed is 3,600 rpm and supplies hydraulic pressure of 3,050, plus or minus 50, psi. A high- pressure relief valve provides overpressure protection to the hydraulic system and relieves at 3,750 psi.

The APUs/HPUs and hydraulic systems are reusable for 20 missions.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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