The Lee Company began supplying components for satellite propulsion decades ago. Solenoid valves are included among the products we supply and are used to control tank flow.
The Lee Company offers 2 and 3-way miniature piloting solenoid valves which are typically used to control the flow of pressurized fluid in rockets, spacecraft, and satellites. These valves represent the smallest high-pressure solenoid valves on the market. They are available for operating pressures up to 6000 psi and can be purchased with zero leak seals for pneumatic applications. We also offer a magnetically latched version which is ideal for applications where low power consumption is critical or long “ON” times are required. This latching feature is a significant benefit for barrier valve applications where solenoid valves are used to control flow from a storage tank for satellite propulsion.
The Lee Company also offers an IEP Series valve, which is a 2-way inline solenoid valve used for metering fuel in SmallSat and CubeSat propulsion. These valves operate at speeds up to 500 Hz and can also be used to meter flow, which is ideal for use in electric propulsion gas feed systems. They can deliver this performance while weighing just 4.7 grams.
Regardless of which component you need, Lee solenoid valves are designed to be small, reliable, and efficient. Each subcomponent and manufacturing process has been optimized to create a proven, low-leak valve design with the highest performance, longest life, and highest reliability – all within the smallest envelope possible. Lee solenoid valves may represent a departure from traditional solenoid designs, but they’ll never represent a risk.
Lastly, spacecraft manufacturers often require custom solutions. Fortunately, our custom designs are just as reliable as our standard models. The Lee Company is vertically integrated, owning the entire production process throughout the life of our components, down to the smallest detail – we even wind our own coils. This lets us create customized valves that will operate in extreme environments, accommodate your unique electrical requirements, or accept a modified fluidic interface. Our global sales force of degreed engineers can provide fast, accurate technical assistance to help you find the best solution for your fluid control problems.
Lee miniature piloting solenoid valves are the most compact powered components we offer, available in a configuration just 0.875 of an inch in diameter and weighing less than 0.14 lbs. Their threaded bodies are easy to install and maintain and are available for system pressures up to 5000 psi. Meanwhile, the efficient coil design requires power levels as low as 7.8 Watts at 28 Vdc. Many options are available, including a single or dual coil configuration, 2-way or 3-way porting, a normally open or normally closed position, and a customizable electrical interface.
In applications where zero leakage is critical, this design incorporates a polyamide-imide seal that’s leak-tight in a one-minute test using clean dry nitrogen. Otherwise, this component retains all the advantages of a standard Lee miniature piloting solenoid valve. It’s available standard in a single-coil package for 3000 psi operating systems. Custom configurations optimized for higher operating pressures, wide operating pressure ranges and leakage rates down to 10^-5 sccs on Helium are available upon request.
Lee latching solenoid valves are the ideal solution for power-sensitive applications. By incorporating permanent magnets into the coil design, these solenoid valves offer a dramatic reduction in overall power consumption, particularly when operating with extended “ON” periods. Unlike traditional designs that require continuous voltage to energize the valve from its natural state, these latching solenoid valves require only a momentary pulse of less than a Joule to switch to and remain in-state.
For more demanding applications, our high flow solenoid valves are available in 2-way, 200 Lohms, and 3-way, 300 Lohms configurations. Both are two-stage poppet designs in a miniature package. These valves are available in normally open and normally closed and single or dual coil configurations for 3000 psi system pressures.
These configurations incorporate the same advantages as our standard solenoid valves in terms of weight and compactness, but their unique Lee MultiSeal® design provides omnidirectional porting, allowing greater flexibility and potential weight savings when designing the housing. These valves are also available in all our different configurations, including a single or dual coil configuration, a normally open or normally closed position, and a lead wire front, lead wire rear, or connector.
IEP Series solenoid valves are designed for applications requiring extended performance. Available in a 2-way normally closed in-line design, these compact valves are capable of a response time as fast as 0.5 ms and are capable of reliable operation across pressures up to 800 psig and ambient temperatures up to 275°F.
Their low mass and high speeds make them ideal for applications such as CubeSat and small satellite propulsion systems as a thruster or control valve. The IEP Series is suitable for use in cold gas, pulsed plasma, and electronic propulsion systems and can be used in some mono-propellant and bi-propellant thrusters.
Check out the products we offer and additional space-specific resources to learn about The Lee Company’s pedigree in space as well as which solenoid valve is the best solution for your spacecraft design.