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Technical Report: Advanced Transport Technologies for NASA Thermal Management/Control Systems
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Thermal control of life-support, power electronics, and other systems is a key enabler for a variety of NASA space, air-flight, and monitoring technologies and is the topic of this research. An example system requiring advanced thermal control is the Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) project, which is designed to acquire precise measurements of land hydrology and ocean circulation. The resulting data will help generate a global assessment of surface water resources and detailed ocean process mapping that will ultimately be used for climate modeling. SWOT’s instruments have relatively high electronic heat dissipation (~1 kW) and must be co-located with other components. However, the instrument temperatures must be extremely stable, with a rate of change below 0.05 K/minute. Furthermore, this must be accomplished in low-Earth orbit, where the variations of solar insolation and Earth reflectance and emission are large. To put this challenge in perspective, typical spacecraft instruments have temperature stability requirements on the order of 1 K/min, usually achieved by isolating components. Lightweight, compact, low-power and reliable thermal control technologies must be developed and proven to meet these requirements
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