Stable Panels Incorporating a Network of Distortion Lowering Evaporators
ABSTRACT: Satellites that operate in low Earth orbit undergo significant transient and non-uniform environmental thermal loads. Further, the payloads on many satellites are also highly transient. Because of the combination of these two conditions, time varying thermal distortions are often experienced which can result in degraded performance or complete mission failure. In Phase I, a novel idea to achieve a thermally stable panel (TSP) through the coupled use of a multi-evaporator hybrid loop heat pipe (ME-HLHP) with low profile evaporators and low thermal expansion composite isogrid panels was proposed. The subsequent thermal modeling of this architecture has shown the ability to achieve a uniform panel temperature distribution; thereby, minimizing the distortion associated with the thermal transients. Further, fabrication of select portions of the design has been successfully demonstrated. In Phase 2, verification of the thermal model through testing will be performed. Further, the fabrication techniques will be extended to produce larger scale prototypes. These prototypes will demonstrate the scalability of the design and its ability to minimize thermal distortions. BENEFIT: Reduction of thermal distortion of satellites, thereby minimizing degradation of performance or mission failures
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