Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-2419
2009-07-12

Design Description and Initial Characterization Testing of an Active Heat Rejection Radiator with Digital Turn-Down Capability 2009-01-2419

NASA's proposed lunar lander, Altair, will be exposed to vastly different external temperatures following launch till its final destination on the moon. In addition, the heat rejection is lowest at the lowest environmental temperatures (0.5 kW @ 4K) and highest at the highest environmental temperature (4.5 kW @ 215K). This places a severe demand on the radiator design to handle these extreme turn-down requirements. A radiator with digital turn-down capability is currently under study at JPL as a robust means to meet the heat rejection demands and provide freeze protection while minimizing mass and power consumption. Turndown is achieved by independent control of flow branches with isolating latch valves and a gear pump to evacuate the isolated branches.
A bench-top test was conducted to characterize the digital radiator concept. Testing focused on the demonstration of proper valve sequencing to achieve turn-down and recharge of flow legs. Test results indicate the digital radiator concept to be feasible based on extrapolation to flight-like conditions. A thermal/fluid model was developed to determine the required flow rates, number of operational flow branches, etc. Future work is necessary to test at environmental conditions where an empirical freeze assessment can be conducted.

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