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Technical Paper

Vapour Compression Heat Pump for a Lunar Lander/Rover Thermal Control

The thermal control of lunar landers/rovers necessitates the use of a system to allow heat rejection to the high temperature lunar environment. In this context a vapour compression heat pump which is a proven technology in terrestrial and aeronautical applications has been studied; its suitability in providing 2 kW cooling capability with adequate temperature lift for final heat rejection by space radiators is assessed. The stringent requirements of space-based hardware in terms of temperature lift, compactness, mass, performance and reliability necessitates optimization studies. Mass optimization of the heat pump components has been carried out, as well as selection of refrigerants and thermodynamic cycles most suited for the application.