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Technical Paper

Thermal Design of the Mars Science Laboratory Powered Descent Vehicle

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission will use a Powered Descent Vehicle to accurately and safely land a roving, robotic laboratory on the surface of Mars. The precision landing systems employed on this vehicle are exposed to a wide range of mission environments from deep space cruise to atmospheric descent and require a robust and adaptable thermal design. This paper discusses the overall thermal design philosophy of the MSL Powered Descent Vehicle and presents analysis of the active and passive elements comprising the Cruise, Entry, Descent, and Landing thermal control systems.
Journal Article

Development of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory Instrument Thermal Control System

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) will carry a single science instrument scheduled for launch on an Orbital Sciences Corporation LeoStar-2 architecture spacecraft bus in December 2008. The science objective of the OCO instrument is to collect spaced-based measurements of atmospheric CO2 with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to identify CO2 sources and sinks and quantify their seasonal variability. The instrument will permit the collection of spatially resolved, high resolution spectroscopic observations of CO2 and O2 absorption in reflected sunlight over both continents and oceans. These measurements will improve our ability to forecast CO2 induced climate change. The instrument consists of three bore-sighted, high resolution grating spectrometers sharing a common telescope with similar optics and electronics.
Journal Article

Thermal Control System of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper Instrument

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument is one in a suite of twelve instruments which will fly onboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft scheduled for launch in 2008. Chandrayaan-1 is India's first mission to the Moon and is being managed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in Bangalore, India. Chandrayaan-1 overall scientific objective is the photo-selenological and the chemical mapping of the Moon. The primary science objective of the M3 instrument is the characterization and mapping of the lunar surface composition in the context of its geologic evolution. Its primary exploration goal is to assess and map the Moon mineral resources at high spatial resolution to support future targeted missions. It is a “push-broom” near infrared (IR) imaging spectrometer with spectral coverage of 0.4 to 3.0 μm at 10 nm resolution with high signal to noise ratio, spatial and spectral uniformity.
Technical Paper

Viral Populations within the International Space Station's Internal Active Thermal Control System Ground Support and Potential Flight Hardware

The Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) contains an aqueous, alkaline fluid (pH 9.5±0.5) that aids in maintaining a habitable environment for the crew. Because microbes have significant potential to cause disease, adverse effects on astronaut health, and microbe-induced corrosion, the presence of both bacteria and viruses within IATCS fluids is of concern. This study sought to detect and identify viral populations in IATCS samples obtained from the Kennedy Space Center as a first step towards characterizing and understanding potential risks associated with them. Samples were concentrated and viral nucleic acids (NA) extracted providing solutions containing 8.87-22.67 μg NA per mL of heat transfer fluid. After further amplification viral DNA and cDNA were then pooled, fluorescently labeled, and hybridized onto a Combimatrix panvira 12K microarray containing probes for ∼1,000 known human viruses.
Technical Paper

Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop Technologies for Thermal Control of Future Mars Rovers

Future planetary science missions planned for Mars are expected to be more complex and thermally challenging than any of the previous missions. For future rovers, the operational parameters such as landing site latitudes, mission life, distance traversed, and rover thermal energy to be managed will be significantly higher (two to five times) than the previous missions. It is a very challenging problem to provide an effective thermal control for the future rovers using traditional passive thermal control technologies. Recent investigations at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have shown that mechanical pump based fluid loops provide a robust and effective thermal control system needed for these future rovers. Mechanical pump based fluid loop (MPFL) technologies are currently being developed at JPL for use on such rovers. These fluid loops are planned for use during spacecraft cruise from earth to Mars and also on the Martian surface operations.
Technical Paper

Mars Science Laboratory Thermal Control Architecture

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL1) mission to land a large rover on Mars is being planned for Launch in 2009. As currently conceived, the rover would use a Multi-mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to generate about 110 W of electrical power for use in the rover and the science payload. Usage of an MMRTG allows for a large amount of nearly constant electrical power to be generated day and night for all seasons (year around) and latitudes. This offers a large advantage over solar arrays. The MMRTG by its nature dissipates about 2000 W of waste heat. The basic architecture of the thermal system utilizes this waste heat on the surface of Mars to maintain the rover's temperatures within their limits under all conditions. In addition, during cruise, this waste heat needs to be dissipated safely to protect sensitive components in the spacecraft and the rover.
Technical Paper

Margin Determination in the Design and Development of a Thermal Control System

A method for determining margins in conceptual-level design via probabilistic methods is described. The goal of this research is to develop a rigorous foundation for determining design margins in complex multidisciplinary systems. As an example application, the investigated method is applied to conceptual-level design of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) cruise stage thermal control system. The method begins with identifying a set of tradable system-level parameters. Models that determine each of these tradable parameters are then created. The variables of the design are classified and assigned appropriate probability density functions. To characterize the resulting system, a Monte Carlo simulation is used. Probabilistic methods can then be used to represent uncertainties in the relevant models. Lastly, results of this simulation are combined with the risk tolerance of thermal engineers to guide in the determination of margin levels.
Technical Paper

Design and Flight Qualification of a Paraffin-Actuated Heat Switch for Mars Surface Applications

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight system uses mechanical, paraffin-actuated heat switches as part of its secondary battery thermal control system. This paper describes the design, flight qualification, and performance of the heat switch. Although based on previous designs by Starsys Research Corporation1,2, the MER mission requirements have necessitated new design features and an extensive qualification program. The design utilizes the work created by the expansion of a paraffin wax by bringing into contact two aluminum surfaces, thereby forming a heat conduction path. As the paraffin freezes and contracts, compression springs separate the surfaces to remove the conduction path. The flight qualification program involved extensive thermal performance, structural, and life testing.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Transient Temperature Oscillations of a Propylene Loop Heat Pipe

A technology demonstration propylene Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) has been tested extensively in support of the implementation of this two-phase thermal control technology on NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument. This cryogenic instrument is being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA. This paper reports on the transient characterization testing results showing low frequency temperature oscillations. Steady state performance and model correlation results can be found elsewhere. Results for transient startup and shutdown are also reported elsewhere. In space applications, when LHPs are used for thermal control, the power dissipation components are typically of large mass and may operate over a wide range of power dissipations; there is a concern that the LHP evaporator may see temperature oscillations at low powers and over some temperature range.
Technical Paper

Thermal Design and On-Orbit Performance of the Multi-Angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument was launched aboard NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra spacecraft on December 18, 1999. The overall mission design lifetime for the instrument is 6 years. The EOS Terra spacecraft was placed in a sun-synchronous near-circular polar orbit with an inclination of 98.3 degrees and a mean altitude of 705 km. The overall objective of MISR is to provide a means to study the ecology and climate of Earth through the acquisition of global multiangle imagery on the daylit side of Earth. MISR views the sunlit Earth simultaneously at nine widely spaced angles, collects global images with high spatial detail in four colors at every angle. The images acquired, once calibrated, provide accurate measurements of brightness, contrast and color of reflected sunlight.
Technical Paper

Thermal Design of the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer Instrument

The Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) is a cryogenic instrument which will be launched on NASA's Earth Observation System (EOS) Chemistry Platform in the year 2003. The overall mission lifetime for the instrument is 5 years with an additional period of 2 years required for ground test and calibration. The EOS Chemistry Platform will be placed in a sun-synchronous near-circular polar orbit with an inclination of 98.2 degrees and a mean altitude of 705 km. The overall objective of TES is the investigation and quantification of global climate change, both natural and anthropogenic. It is a high resolution infrared imaging (1×16 pixels) Fourier Transform Spectrometer with spectral coverage of 3.3-15.4 μm at a spectral resolution of 0.10 cm−1 or 0.025 cm−1 intended for the measurement and profiling of essentially all infrared-active molecules present in the Earth's lower atmosphere (0-30+ km).
Technical Paper

Thermal Control of Mars Lander and Rover Batteries and Electronics Using Loop Heat Pipe and Phase Change Material Thermal Storage Technologies

This paper describes a novel thermal control system for future Mars landers and rovers designed to keep battery temperatures within the −10 °C to +25 °C temperature range. To keep the battery temperatures above the lower limit, the system uses: 1) a phase change material (PCM) thermal storage module to store and release heat and 2) a loop heat pipe (LHP) to transfer heat from a set of Radioisotope Heater Units (RHUs) to the battery. To keep the battery temperature below the upper limit, a thermal control valve in the LHP opens to redirect the working fluid to an external radiator where excess heat is dumped to the atmosphere. The PCM thermal storage module was designed and fabricated using dodecane paraffin wax (melting point, − 9.6 °C) as the phase change material. A miniature ammonia loop heat pipe with two condensers and an integrated thermal control valve was designed and fabricated for use with the PCM thermal storage unit.
Technical Paper

Chemical Sensor Testing for Space Life Support Chemical Processing: Part I. Moisture Sensors

In support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), a laboratory has been established at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to evaluate the characteristics of chemical sensors which are candidates for use in a controlled chemical processing life support system. Such a facility is required for characterizing those sensors under development as well as those commercially available but whose functional properties are typically based upon operating in industrial environments that will not be completely synonomous with space operations. Space environments, such as an orbiting station or lunar base, will generally have different sensor requirements than terrestrial applications with respect to size, multifunctionality, sensitivity, reliability, temperature, ruggedness, mass, consumables, life, and power requirements. Both commercially available and developmental moisture sensors have been evaluated.