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The potential increase in the operational and non-operational temperature limit for spacecraft electronics in the near future is demanding heat transfer devices which are able to operate up to 125º C.
An increase in the operating temperature of the heat transport systems provides the means for an optimization of the thermal control systems on board, with reduced radiator areas.
In this line, IberEspacio, Thales Alenia Space and EADS-CASA Espacio have performed an extensive and comprehensive set of activities to develop a High Temperature Loop Heat Pipe & Radiator. The HTLHP activities started with the discussion of the HTLHP concept to the analysis of the test results and qualification program definition with the objective of the development and full characterization of a Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) and radiator able to efficiently operate at temperatures up to 125º C. That implies that the developed technology acquires a technological readiness level at least TRL 5, prior to qualification.
Main challenges of HTLHP project are the development of:
The use of LHPs as heat transport systems imply the following advantages:
In addition, the development of a HTLHP and Radiator, taking into account the expected increase of the operational and non operational upper temperature limit for spacecraft electronics, implies the following additional advantages:
In the HTLHP project a system including the following elements has been developed:
Step 1: The activity started with the specifications consolidation and existing technologies and patents review to define the HTLHP concept. Then, a comprehensive trade-off and testing of dedicated breadboards were carried out to select the HTLHP prototype approach.
Step 2: The HTLHP prototypes were designed and manufactured. A Thermo Mathematical Model (TMM) was built-up to predict the LHP performance. The test plan, set-up and procedures were prepared.
Step 3: The test campaign was performed, including different environments and orientations. After a successful test campaign and TMM correlation, a Qualification Program was defined as the next stage in the HTLHP activity.
The ARTES 5 HTLHP Project is successfully finished. The technologies and hardware developed in the frame of the project:
are fully compliant with the specification elaborated and consolidated by Thales Alenia Space. Important technology achievements have been obtained during the course of the HTLHP development:
The objectives of the project have been fulfilled and as a consequence it is possible to propose advanced and solid technology to meet new challenges in the spacecraft thermal control field.