Design Evolution of the Capillary Pumped Loop (CAPL 2) Flight Experiment
The Capillary Pumped Loop Flight Experiment (CAPL 2) employs a passive two-phase thermal control system that uses the latent heat of vaporization of ammonia to transfer heat over long distances. CAPL was designed as a prototype of the Earth Observing System (EOS) instrument thermal control systems. The purpose of the mission was to provide validation of the system performance in microgravity, prior to implementation on EOS. CAPL 1 was flown on STS-60 in February, 1994, with some unexpected results related to gravitational effects on two-phase systems. Start-up difficulties on CAPL 1 led to a redesign of the experiment (CAPL 2) and a reflight on STS-69 in September of 1995. The CAPL 2 flight was extremely successful and the new “starter pump” design is now baselined for the EOS application. This paper emphasizes the design history, the CAPL 2 design, and lessons learned from the CAPL program.