Thermal Testing of a Heat Switch for European Mars Rover
A Heat Switch has been developed, namely a device able to autonomously regulate its own thermal conductance in function of the equipment dissipation and environmental heat sink conditions. It is based on a Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) technology, with a passive bypass valve which diverts the flow to the Compensation Chamber when needed for regulation purposes. The target application is the potential use on a Mars Rover thermal control system. The paper recalls the Heat Switch design, and reports the results of an extensive test campaign on the ground demonstrator. The performance of the device was found extremely satisfying, and often exceeded the system requirements.