EURECA (EUropean REtrievable CArrier) is the first European reusable platform with the purpose of carrying into space multidisciplinary payloads. The first mission is dedicated to micro gravity with experiments on material processing and life science.
EURECA will be placed in orbit by the Space Shuttle and retrieved after a period of 6 to 9 months. Since its operating altitude is 500 km (circular orbit) the residual acceleration is expected to be lower than 10−5g. The first EURECA mission is scheduled for 1987 and 5 missions are planned in 10 years.
AERITALIA is responsible of the platform Thermal Control Subsystem the design of which has to fulfill a wide range of temperature requirements for both the payloads and the subsystem equipments. The boundary conditions to be considered in the thermal design are dictated by the different mission phases (ascent, in cargo-bay conditions, deployment, transfer orbit, in orbit operational and dormant phases, retrieval and descent phases).
The Thermal Control is achieved by active (heat rejection through fluid radiator panels) and passive (multilayer thermal blankets, heaters and paints) means. The applied technology has mainly been developed during the SPACELAB program and most of the used components are already qualified hardware.