Thermal Performance of Capillary Pumped Loops Onboard Terra Spacecraft 2004-01-2504
The Terra spacecraft is the flagship of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. It provides global data on the atmosphere, land, and oceans, as well as their interactions with solar radiation and one another. Three Terra instruments utilize Capillary Pumped Heat Transport Systems (CPHTS) for temperature control. Each CPHTS, consisting of two capillary pumped loops (CPLs) and several heat pipes and electrical heaters, is designed for instrument heat loads ranging from 25W to 264W. The working fluid is ammonia. Since the launch of the Terra spacecraft in December 1999, each CPHTS has been providing a stable interface temperature specified by the instrument under all modes of spacecraft and instrument operations. The ability to change the CPHTS operating temperature upon demand while in service has also extended the useful life of one instrument. This paper describes the design and on-orbit performance of the CPHTS thermal systems.