Thermal Stability Testing of Two-Phase Thermal Control Hardware for the Surface Water Ocean Topography Mission
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The thermal architecture of the proposed Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission would utilize loop heat pipes (LHPs) and constant conductance heat pipes (CCHPs) to transport waste heat (> 1 kW) from the instrument electronics to the radiator. The main thermal design risk is the ability to maintain a temporal stability of <0.05°C/min in a low earth orbit environment. The stringent thermal requirements are part of the overall error budget needed to meet the primary mission science goals. A testbed was developed to simulate flight-like loads and environments in order to validate the thermal subsystem could meet the temporal stability requirements.