Europa Clipper Passive Thermal Control Valve Test and Analysis



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


Europa Clipper spacecraft utilizes passive thermal control valves (TCV) in an active thermal control system to maintain spacecraft component temperatures within their allowable limits. The single-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop recovers heat from the electronics and uses it to maintain propulsion system warm. When excess heat is dissipated the mixing valves direct the fluid to the radiator to reject this additional heat. The loop uses two mixing TCVs placed in series to modulate fluid flow and heat rejection rate from the radiator. This paper describes the thermal and hydraulic test results for Europa Clipper engineering model (EM) mixing valves. For the first time two heritage mixing valves previously developed for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) were placed in series to modulate flow to the radiator from 0.1% to 95% of full flow between temperature range of 4 oC to 24 oC. Individually, each mixing valve was able to modulate the flow from 2% to 96% of full flow between the temperatures of 4 oC and 24 oC. Pressure drop was measured between 1.5 to 3 psid depending on the temperature of the mixed fluid and the opening fraction of the valves. A methodology was developed, tested, and validated to adjust the setpoints with an accuracy of 0.1 oC. The measured flow splits were corrected for the effects of impedance due to the flow meters used to measure the flow rates. Finally, flow rate to the radiator increased linearly as a function of mixed temperature for individual valves, while it increased parabolically with temperature when two mixing valves were placed in series.


Razmig Kandilian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), USA
Pradeep Bhandari, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), USA
Arthur Mastropietro, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), USA
Paul Woodmansee, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), USA
ICES101: Spacecraft and Instrument Thermal Systems
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


mechanically pumped fluid loop, single phase, heat transfer, spacecraft thermal control, thermal control valve, mixing valve, EM test