The proposed research is targeted at enabling equatorial lunar exploration. NASA has identified a need for improved heat rejection systems in this environment, where surface temperatures can reach 400 K. The required heat rejection temperature exceeds the maximum heat rejection temperature of commercially available compressors. Our technology will enable space-based heat pumping systems at these temperatures. Mainstream expects that this will result in other NASA applications, such as non-lunar exploration vehicles with very high heat rejection loads.
In addition to NASA?s lunar exploration mission profile, Mainstream?s compressor technology has potential to benefit any space-based system that must reject large amounts of heat through radiation. In these cooling systems, radiators are almost always the largest contributor to size and weight. By increasing the rejection temperature through a lifting cycle, such as the V-C refrigeration cycle, radiator size and weight can be significantly reduced. It can be assumed that any satellite or exploration vehicle that has high electric power consumption (1000s of watts or greater) is going to have large heat rejection requirements, due to the inherent inefficiencies of any real system. These high power satellites could potentially benefit from a lifting cycle.