1994-06-01

Performance of a Flat Plate Solar Collector in Extraterrestrial Environments 941270

The thermal performance of a double glazed, flat plate, water heating solar collector in two extraterrestrial environments has been calculated. Incident Solar and Earth-emitted radiation data for a reference cube in Earth orbit was used to predict thermal performance of the collector in three Low Earth Orbit configurations. The sun facing surface of a sun-oriented spacecraft maintains positive thermal efficiencies over a 90 minute orbit (including the night side.) Outlet water temperatures as high as 121°C are achievable. Both fixed (facing up) and sun-tracking collectors on the Lunar equator exhibit efficiencies over 90%. Maximum outlet water temperatures of over 177°C are achievable. It is concluded that flat plate collectors are suitable for a solar water system for space heating of manned habitats where waste heat is unavailable.

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