A comparison study on thermal control techniques for a nanosatellite carrying infrared science instrument
Edwin, Teo Hang Tong
Chandrakant Joshi, Sunil
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Based on current technological advancements and forecasts, nanosatellites will be used for both scientific and defense applications leveraging advantages on both development cost and development lifecycle. As nanosatellites become more capable, there is an increase in demand for high power applications which makes the missions complex from implementing a proper thermal control system (TCS) to dissipate the huge waste heat generated. One of the applications for nanosatellites is advanced infrared imaging for both scientific and military applications. ARCADE (Atmospheric coupling and Dynamics Explorer), a 27U satellite is being developed by Satellite Research Centre (SaRC) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for scientific objectives. The main payload AtmoLITE needs a detector cool down at -30°C and to meet this requirement, an appropriate classical TCS is chosen and described in this paper. Nanosatellites carrying infrared, cryogenic or other scientific instruments that need active cooling, should be equipped with a proper TCS within the highly constrained available volume. Another objective of this study is to compare the existing TCS for nanosatellites and adopt a suitable and efficient TCS for a scientific nanosatellite mission carrying a generic science instrument that needs an active cooling of up to 95K. TCS using Heat pipes (HP), single-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop (SMPFL), and two-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop systems (2FMPFL) have been extensively used only by larger satellites but the researches on its potential application on nanosatellites are ongoing. For this purpose, few thermal control techniques will be reviewed in detail for two satellite configurations 6U and 27U.