Thermal control systems, required in all spacecraft, maintain temperatures within specific ranges. Spacecraft radiators reject waste heat; however, more complex mission environments and spacecraft power require more sophisticated thermal control. NASA desires low mass, high turndown variable radiators for future manned spacecraft, exploration vehicles, habitation, and interplanetary missions. Lander Variable Radiator is a low mass radiator, using discrete passive thermal switch actuators within an IMLI structure, can provide highly variable and controllable heat rejection. LVR can give precise thermal control, for complex heat load requirements and environmental conditions, with an expected turndown ratio of 80:1 and an areal mass as low as 1.5 kg/m2.
LVR has discrete integrated heat actuator/spacers in an IMLI insulation structure. SMA springs in the actuators passively actuate at mission-specific temperatures, connecting heat conductors and functioning as a good radiator. When the lander is in a cold environment and must retain heat, the actuator/spacers disconnect, and LVR becomes IMLI insulation to retain system heat. The lightweight, passive LVR system draws on Quest’s experience solving complex thermal control requirements with innovative, high performing insulation technologies. This experience will enable Quest to successfully design, build and test a sophisticated variable radiator with a high turndown ratio and low mass for future variable environment missions.
This novel advanced radiator integrates passive actuators within IMLI to achieve higher thermal performance than current state-of-the-art louver radiator; enabling thermal control. LVR will outperform current variable radiators in turndown and mass, enabling missions exposed to more complex thermal loads and environments.
NASA is interested in high turndown variable radiators, capable of spacecraft thermal control in varying temperature environments such as the Lunar surface. LVR technology for Lunar Landers could solve a critical need, and LVR could benefit NASA for various new spacecraft, launch vehicles, manned spaceflight, and long-term habitats. NASA programs that might benefit and use Variable Radiators include Lunar Gateway, Europa Clipper/Lander, Venus Landers, Lunar Landers, Mars Landers and long duration habitats (Moon, Mars, etc.).
Commercial Lunar Landers could benefit from LVR technology. LVR can benefit satellites and CubeSats by both radiating and conserving heat, reducing power requirements. LVR could improve thermal control for Earth satellites in orbits with diurnal temperature cycles. Quest’s Lander Variable Radiator will have high turndown ratios, benefiting both NASA and non-NASA applications.