Space Evaporator Absorber Radiator (SEAR) for Thermal Storage on Manned Spacecraft



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45th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Future manned exploration spacecraft will need to operate in challenging thermal environments. State-of-the-art technology for active thermal control relies on sublimating water ice and venting the vapor overboard in very hot environments, and or heavy phase change material heat exchangers for thermal storage. These approaches can lead to large loss of water and significant mass penalties for the spacecraft. This paper describes an innovative thermal control system that uses a Space Evaporator Absorber Radiator (SEAR) to control spacecraft temperatures in highly variable environments without venting water. SEAR uses heat pumping and energy storage by LiCl/water absorption to enable effective cooling during hot periods and regeneration during cool periods. The LiCl absorber module has the potential to absorb over 500 kJ, compared to phase change heat sink systems that typically achieve ~50 kJ/kg. This paper describes analysis models to predict performance and optimize the size of the SEAR system, estimated size and mass of key components, and an assessment of potential mass savings compared with alternative thermal management approaches. We also describe a concept design for an ISS test package to demonstrate operation of a subscale system in zero gravity.


Bellevue, Washington
Michael G. Izenson, Creare LLC, USA
Weibo Chen, Creare LLC, USA
Ariane Chepko, Creare LLC, USA
Grant Bue, NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, USA
Gregory Quinn, UTC Aerospace Systems, USA
The 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Bellevue, Washington, USA on 12 July 2015 through 16 July 2015.