Prototype Space Erectable Radiator System Ground Test Article Development 881066
The space-erectable radiator system (SERS) is being developed by NASA-JSC to provide a long-life, highly reliable waste heat rejection capability for Space Station and similar large space systems. In general, the SERS features modular, high-capacity radiator panels that can be installed and replaced on-orbit, as needed. Each panel interfaces with the central heat transport loop through a dry contact heat exchanger attachment. The Grumman prototype SERS is based upon a low-risk extension of proven monogroove heat pipe technology for the radiator element and a simple “whiffletree” mechanical clamping mechanism for achieving the required contact pressure at the dry attachment interface.
The SERS ground test article that has been built consists of eight radiator panels, each 1 ft wide by 48 ft long, and eight separate whiffletree clamps that engage a 2 ft2 contact area. Each of the heat pipe radiator panels has been acceptance tested at ambient conditions to demonstrate a minimum heat transfer capability of 2.4 kW at 1/2 inch adverse tilt with an overall thermal conductance, between evaporator and radiator fin root, of 200 watts per °F. Separate component tests to evaluate contact conductance indicate an average value of 450 BTU/hr ft2 °F. This paper provides further detail describing the design and performance characteristics of the prototype SERS ground test article that is scheduled for thermal vacuum testing at NASA-JSC during June 1988.