As the Space Station Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR) milestones approach, critical technology decisions lie ahead for all major systems to be flown on the vehicle. In the area of thermal management, two-phase heat transport technology has been baselined to meet the Space Station need for transporting large heat loads, providing flexibility to a wide range of potential users, accommodating on-orbit growth, and operating reliably for long life.
The thermal test bed (TTB) is an evolutionary program, providing the Space Station program with critical elements of thermal technology development and integrated system performance assessment. Initiated formally in 1984, the TTB has provided confidence in verifying the readiness of two-phase thermal technology for use on the phase I configuration of the Space Station. Through the development of a ground-based representative of the Space Station thermal control system (TCS), the TTB will provide a mechanism by which prototype and advanced thermal control concepts are evaluated at the system and subsystem levels for Space Station applications.
This paper presents a summary of TTB accomplishments to date, provides a current status of efforts under way, and outlines future plans in the TTB program which will support the design and development of the Space Station TCS.