Mars Pathfinder Active Heat Rejection System: Successful Flight Demonstration of a Mechanically Pumped Cooling Loop 981684
One of the new technologies successfully demonstrated on the recent Mars Pathfinder mission was the active Heat Rejection System (HRS). This system consisted of a mechanically pumped cooling loop, which actively controlled the temperatures of the various parts of the spacecraft. A single phase Refrigerant 11 liquid was mechanically circulated through the lander and cruise electronics box heat exchangers. This liquid transferred the excess heat to an external radiator on the cruise stage. This is the first time in unmanned spacecraft history that an active heat rejection system of this type has been used on a long duration spacecraft mission. Pathfinder was launched in December 1996 and landed on the Martian surface on July 4, 1997. The system functioned flawlessly during the entire seven months of flight from Earth to Mars.
A life test set up of the cooling loop was used to verify the life of the system. The life test system was run for over 14, 000 hours before complete examination of the components used in the life test was made. Some of the components used in the system were tested in the life test set up. The results from the life test loop indicate no major issues that would hinder the pumped loop operation for many more years.
Citation: Birur, G. and Bhandari, P., "Mars Pathfinder Active Heat Rejection System: Successful Flight Demonstration of a Mechanically Pumped Cooling Loop," SAE Technical Paper 981684, 1998, https://doi.org/10.4271/981684. Download Citation
Gajanana C. Birur, Pradeep Bhandari
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
International Conference On Environmental Systems
SAE 1998 Transactions - Journal of Aerospace-V107-1