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Passive Set-Point Thermal Control Skin for Spacecraft, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Current manned and unmanned spacecraft require sophisticated thermal control technologies to keep systems at temperatures within their proper operating ranges. Future manned and unmanned missions to the moon, mars, and other destinations will require new technologies to maintain spacecraft temperature near a set-point while under variable heat loads and thermal environments under increasingly stringent size, weight and power constraints. Passive components that can assist with this goal can greatly extend and expand NASA mission capabilities. Physical Sciences Inc. proposes to develop a passive thermal skin with set-point temperature control using phase-change-material nanofilms. Our innovation will allow for simultaneous control of the visible reflectivity and the infrared emissivity of the spacecraft, causing the craft to reflect sunlight and radiate heat when hot, and absorb sunlight and become non-emissive when cold. By simultaneously optimizing both the visible and infrared optical properties, a turn-down ratio (TDR) of 18:1 is ultimately achievable. More »

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