Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-2990

Lightweight Conformal Spacecraft Thermal Radiator 2005-01-2990

A new type of thermal radiator has been developed to provide cooling for a spacecraft or spacecraft sub-system. It consists of a very thin, and in some cases, very flexible composite laminate fabricated from composite materials incorporating high thermal conductivity pitch fibers and a space-qualified polymer resin system. The radiator is light and flexible enough to be easily attached to the outside of the spacecraft's thermal blankets by non-structural means. It is fabricated as a flat panel, yet, in some configurations, can be flexible enough to be bent to conform to the shape of the thermal blanket. Since the approach described here is extremely flexible and lightweight, it experiences negligible stresses and imparts negligible loads to the spacecraft. Therefore it can be easily designed and installed with very little schedule and cost impact. Prototypes of this concept have been successfully designed, fabricated, and tested at JHU/APL, the results of which are described here.


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