Across-Gimbal Ambient Thermal Transport System 2001-01-2195
This paper describes the development, operation and testing of an across-gimbal ambient thermal transport system (GATTS) for carrying cryocooler waste heat across a 2-axis gimbal. The principal application for the system is space-based remote sensing spacecraft with gimbaled cryogenics optics and/or infrared sensors. GATTS uses loop heat pipe (LHP) technology with ammonia as the working fluid and small diameter stainless steel tubing to transport 100–275 W across a two-axis gimbal. The tubing is coiled around each gimbal axis to provide flexibility (less than 0.68 N-m [6 lbf-in] of tubing-induced torque per axis) and fatigue life. Stepper motors are implemented to conduct life cycling and to assess the impact of motion on thermal performance. An LHP conductance of approximately 7.5 W/C was demonstrated at 200 W, with and without gimbal motion. At the time this paper was written, the gimbal had successfully completed over 500,000 cycles of operation with no performance degradation.