Date of Award
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Small satellites missions are becoming increasingly complex and are requiring more power. These demands lead to temperature fluctuations on the satellite due to spacecraft layout, sunlight and shadow in orbit, and high-powered instrumentation. Products which provide necessary thermal stability for components on the satellite are desirable to small satellite manufacturers.
In September of 2015, Dr. Allison Evans of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center filed a patent for an innovative louver system configured for small satellite applications. The design was sized for satellites with a 1U form factor and utilized bimetallic springs to lift the louver flaps. The design was licensed by Thermal Management Technologies, a company based in Logan, UT. While the louver system was intended for use in small satellites, a market in which TMT is an innovator, the design could not be integrated into the existing line of TMT products.
The purpose of this project was to produce a passive thermal control system based on the licensed design that interfaces with existing TMT products. The system provides thermal stability without increasing power consumption through utilizing bimetallic springs to operate a louver system. The springs were calibrated to actuate between temperatures of -20˚C and +30˚C.
The USU Thermal Louver Capstone Design Team created a modified design with a unified, iterable frame that aligns with the hole pattern of TMT’s existing radiator grid. The team conducted mechanical and thermal analysis on the design to determine that the device could perform within threshold values. The team fabricated a prototype of the unified design and conducted a series of tests to verify the analysis.
The design proposed by the team is a more simple and robust design than the original version and can be mounted to TMT’s existing satellite radiator products. The prototype performed as expected and validated the team’s models.
Mullen, James Anthony, "Small Spacecraft Thermal Control Louvers" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 919.
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Departmental Honors Advisor