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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Variable Surface Area Thermal Radiator

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Variable Surface Area Thermal Radiator
Due to increased complexity of spacecraft and longer expected life, more sophisticated and complex thermal management schemes are needed that will be capable of dissipating a wide variety of heat loads under harsh operating conditions. An optimal thermal control system must effectively vary the amount of heat dissipation while at the same time not burdening the spacecraft by utilizing the extremely limited spacecraft resources, such as mass, volume, or power. Several previous thermal control systems have successfully utilized movable louver and pinwheel type designs for enabling thermal control. Each type of louver system has the drawback of utilizing moving parts that can break or bind, and only enable course thermal control. A much better approach would be to have a conformal, flexible type louver system. The CAC system implements a variable thermal control system that consists of a thin membrane (< 1mm) that is comprised of a plurality of small electrostaticly operated "louvers" that can be adjusted to varying degrees of inclination for variable heat rejection. The flexible electrostatic variable emissivity louver membrane is not only extremely lightweight, but also has the added benefit of being completely conformal to a spacecraft surface. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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