Heat Pipes on Intelsat V - FM 15 Design, Tests and in Orbit Performance after 6 Months Operation 911482

This paper presents the benefit for receiver thermal performance of installing heat pipes on top of the INTELSAT V - FM 15 antenna panel. The FM 15 spacecraft launched in January 1989 is identical in all respects to the FM 13 spacecraft launched in May 1988, except for the addition of three interconnection heat pipes on the external surface of the antenna panel.
So this flight experiment is unique, because it allows a direct in-flight comparison between two identical spacecraft, one with, and one without heat pipes.
Detailed thermal mathematical models have been developed to correlate the anticipated results obtained from INTELSAT V - FM 13 and FM 15 with those obtained from flight telemetry and to verify the level of heat transfer coefficients of the heat pipes.
This paper describes:
  • The experiment
  • The tests performed on heat pipe either on heat pipe units or at assembly level during flight tests on FM 15
  • The flight results obtained, on FM 13 and FM 15 during Vernal Equinox (March) and Summer Solstice (June) 1989 seasons.
Recent data coming from INTELSAT show that heat pipe performances are excellent after two years operation in orbit.


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