Variable Conductance Radiator: A Novel Lightweight, High Turndown Spacecraft Radiator Using Variable Heat Conductors, Phase I

Metadata Updated: February 28, 2019

Spacecraft thermal control is a critical element to maintaining spacecraft, manned, unmanned or robotic, at proper temperatures for humans, instruments and electronics to function properly. Simple, passive thermal control in which excess heat is radiated to space via blackbody radiators used to be adequate, however, as spacecraft power levels increase and mission environments become more complex, more flexible and capable thermal control systems and mechanisms are needed. Variable heat rejection is an enabling technology to reliably vary heat rejection during human and robotic spaceflight missions with wide variation in thermal environments & vehicle heat loads. Quest Thermal Group is proposing a novel Variable Conductor Radiator (VCR) that uses actuated heat conductors within an IMLI structure to control heat conduction. A VCR could provide both high and very low heat rejection, operating as both effective radiators and high performance insulation, and capable of turndown ratios of 80:1.

The NASA 2012 TA14 Thermal Management Roadmap stated radiator advancement is perhaps the most critical thermal technology development for future spacecraft and space-based systems. NASA is seeking unique solutions for thermal control technology providing low mass highly reliable thermal control systems. As NASA moves beyond LEO, spacecraft must accommodate various mission scenarios and need variable heat rejection. Current state of the art variable radiators offer heat rejection turn-down ratios up to about 4:1.

Phase I goals are to develop a new variable spacecraft radiator that can simply and efficiently provide a highly variable heat rejection using variable solid conduction within IMLI insulation, and prove feasibility of the VCR concept to help improve radiator capabilities for future NASA and commercial spacecraft. A VCR prototype will be modeled, designed, built and tested for thermal performance and variable heat rejection.

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Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019

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Harvested from NASA Data.json

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_93827
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Maintainer Email
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Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2017-12-01
Homepage URL https://techport.nasa.gov/view/93827
License http://www.usa.gov/publicdomain/label/1.0/
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
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Source Hash 715910f5b1b8348533111558729847bebcbbe8d2
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