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A zero gravity flight is considered a nearly mandatory prerequisite for flight experiments on the Space Shuttle or International Space Station ISS. NASA Glenn and the Texas A&M Center for Space Power funded an effort to successfully operate a high speed 40,000 rpm flywheel during approximately 100 zero-g parabolic flight trajectories.The total flywheel energy storage system FESS was designed, built and tested at the lead author’s Texas A&M laboratory. The magnetic bearings have a fault-tolerant, homopolar design with a load capacity of about 100 lbs in the radial and axial directions. The paper includes design and fabrication details of the flywheel, magnetic suspension and the power, sensing and control systems, and also simulation and flight test results. Other magnetic bearing work presently ongoing in the lead author’s lab is also highlighted.

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Booktitle: Proceedings of ISMB13