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Journal Article

Design Description and Initial Characterization Testing of an Active Heat Rejection Radiator with Digital Turn-Down Capability

NASA's proposed lunar lander, Altair, will be exposed to vastly different external temperatures following launch till its final destination on the moon. In addition, the heat rejection is lowest at the lowest environmental temperatures (0.5 kW @ 4K) and highest at the highest environmental temperature (4.5 kW @ 215K). This places a severe demand on the radiator design to handle these extreme turn-down requirements. A radiator with digital turn-down capability is currently under study at JPL as a robust means to meet the heat rejection demands and provide freeze protection while minimizing mass and power consumption. Turndown is achieved by independent control of flow branches with isolating latch valves and a gear pump to evacuate the isolated branches. A bench-top test was conducted to characterize the digital radiator concept. Testing focused on the demonstration of proper valve sequencing to achieve turn-down and recharge of flow legs.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Coatings and Materials for Future Radiators

NASA's current vision for exploration dictates that radiators for a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), a Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), and a lunar base will need to be developed. These applications present new challenges when compared to previous radiators on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). In addition, many technological advances have been made that could positively impact future radiator design. This paper outlines new requirements for future radiators and documents a trade study performed to select some promising technologies for further evaluation. These technologies include carbon composites substrates as well as Optical Solar Reflectors (OSRs), a lithium based white paint, and electrochromic thin films for optical coatings.
Technical Paper

High Temperature Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop for Space Applications –Working Fluid Selection

Mechanically pumped single-phase fluid loops are well suited for transporting and rejecting large amounts of waste heat from spacecraft electronics and power supplies. While past implementations of such loops on spacecraft have used moderate operating temperatures (less than 60ºC), higher operating temperatures would allow equivalent heat loads to be rejected by smaller and less massive radiators. A high temperature (100 to 150ºC) mechanically pumped fluid loop is currently being investigated at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for use on future Mars missions. This paper details the trade study used to select the high temperature working fluid for the system and the initial development testing of loop components.
Technical Paper

Thermal Performance of a Miniature Variable Conductance Loop Heat Pipe

Loop Heat Pipes (LHP) of different designs are currently used in aerospace applications worldwide. Historically, LHPs were considered primarily as candidates for high power, high adverse elevation and high heat flux applications such as deployable radiators for large satellites, thermal bus devices, high heat flux payloads, etc. A new look at the LHP technology was presented in 1998 (Ref. 1), and the miniature LHP concept was introduced to the industry. Because miniature LHPs are frequently serving as “thermal shunts” for payloads and instruments, controllability issues played an important role from the very beginning of their development. For instance, the electrical power that is available for thermal control of Mars rovers on the Martian surface is limited. Because of this limitation, the thermal control systems for the new generation of Mars rovers were required to be absolutely passive.
Technical Paper

Mars Pathfinder Active Heat Rejection System: Successful Flight Demonstration of a Mechanically Pumped Cooling Loop

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.
Technical Paper

Mechanical Pumped Cooling Loop for Spacecraft Thermal Control

The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) Spacecraft, scheduled for a December 1996 launch to Mars, uses a mechanically pumped loop to transfer dissipated heat from the insulated lander electronics to an external radiator. This paper discusses the tradeoffs performed before choosing a mechanical pumped loop as the thermal control system for MPF. It describes the analysis, tradeoffs, design, and predicted performance of this system. The various development tests performed are discussed, along with the current status of this cooling system. Finally, some thoughts on the development of mechanically pumped loops for future spacecraft are presented.
Technical Paper

Integrated Pump Assembly - An Active Cooling System for Mars Pathfinder Thermal Control

The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft which will be launched in December 1996 features an active cooling system for controlling the temperature of the spacecraft. This will be the first time that such a mechanical pump cooling system is used on an interplanetary or long duration flight (over two weeks) in space. The major element of the cooling system is the Integrated Pump Assembly (IPA). It uses centrifugal pumps to circulate liquid freon to transfer heat from spacecraft electronics to an external radiator. The IPA consists of redundant pumps, motor control electronics, thermal control valves, check valves, and an accumulator. The design and flight implementation of this pump assembly were accomplished in less than two years. This paper describes the design, fabrication, assembly, and testing of the IPA.