Session

Pre-Conference Workshop Session I: Advanced Concepts I

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

As the power levels and sizes of small satellites grow, new capabilities become possible along with new challenges for thermal control. Greater amounts of heat must be transported across longer distances, making it more difficult to control component temperatures using simple, passive systems. This paper describes the performance of an innovative thermal storage technology for small satellite thermal control systems. The thermal storage unit helps maintain temperature stability by efficiently incorporating a solid/liquid phase-change material (PCM).

This paper describes the results of an analysis and testing program that proved the feasibility of the PCM thermal storage concept. We formulated a simple model for a high-power small satellite in an orbital thermal environment. We found that proper selection of the PCM depends on the thermal environment, thermal control system characteristics, and characteristics of the thermal load. The model shows that a properly designed thermal storage system can dramatically reduce temperature variation.

We designed and built a sub-scale PCM thermal storage unit and measured its performance with a heat pipe under conditions that simulate operation in a small satellite thermal control system. Results of these tests demonstrate the capability of the thermal control system to reduce temperature variation during transient operation.

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Aug 1st, 12:00 AM

Thermal Storage for High-Power Small Satellites

Utah State University, Logan, UT

As the power levels and sizes of small satellites grow, new capabilities become possible along with new challenges for thermal control. Greater amounts of heat must be transported across longer distances, making it more difficult to control component temperatures using simple, passive systems. This paper describes the performance of an innovative thermal storage technology for small satellite thermal control systems. The thermal storage unit helps maintain temperature stability by efficiently incorporating a solid/liquid phase-change material (PCM).

This paper describes the results of an analysis and testing program that proved the feasibility of the PCM thermal storage concept. We formulated a simple model for a high-power small satellite in an orbital thermal environment. We found that proper selection of the PCM depends on the thermal environment, thermal control system characteristics, and characteristics of the thermal load. The model shows that a properly designed thermal storage system can dramatically reduce temperature variation.

We designed and built a sub-scale PCM thermal storage unit and measured its performance with a heat pipe under conditions that simulate operation in a small satellite thermal control system. Results of these tests demonstrate the capability of the thermal control system to reduce temperature variation during transient operation.