Design of an Actively Shuttered Dust-Resilient Radiator for Lunar Applications

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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems

The design of radiators for the lunar surface must consider detrimental effects of lunar dust in terms of thermal performance, as well to the reliability of the mechanism. Radiator function is influenced by extreme temperature variations, where thermal cases must consider IR heating from the surface during the Lunar day as well as heat losses during the Lunar night. The overall challenge for the development was to maximize the range of functionality across a wide variety of lunar locations, while focusing on polar scenarios.

In early stages, a thermal analytical model was developed in Python to study thermal shutter performance of 2 variants according to lunar latitude and orientation of the radiator, as it was required to maximize the shutters' usefulness. The trade-off resulted in the selection of the thermal shutter approach versus a louvered radiator concept, with the shutter favoured for lower mass and higher field of view and reliability.

The actively shuttered design enables closure of the radiator to minimize heat losses at night and is also intended to protect from contamination during radiator during events and phases of the day with high expected dust deposition, such as the passing of the day/night terminator, landing, or activities of astronauts, rovers or robotic equipment.

The paper describes progress made following one year of development, focusing on status. Results of component level breadboarding and an overview of the design of an Engineering Model unit will be covered, highlighting thermal design choices, risk mitigation activities and thermal capabilities predicted for this device as well as the mounting approach. The mechanism design will be described demonstrating the dust-resilient approach, suitable for lunar landers (EL3), rovers and other longer duration lunar surface applications.

Andrew S. Gibson, ESR Technology Limited, United Kingdom
Dominic Bailes-Brown, ESR Technology Limited, United Kingdom
Angel Iglesias, Almatech, Switzerland
Martin Humphries, Spacemech Limited, United Kingdom
Simeon Barber, Space Science Solutions Limited, United Kingdom
Philipp Hager, European Space Agency (ESA), Netherlands
ICES104: Advances in Thermal Control Technology
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.
radiator, lunar, mechanism, thermal control, dust-resilient