NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developed mechanically pumped single-phase fluid loop (MPFL) thermal system for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover fluid loop that used mixing or splitting passive thermal control valve (TCV) to control the fluid flow path during different environmental scenarios. NASA has also used passively actuated TCVs in the MPFL for the past robotic space missions like Mars Pathfinder (MPF) and Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). The challenging requirements and higher cooling demands of these space missions result in increase in vehicle power and mass of the system. Therefore, the NASA is seeking for an innovation that reduces the mass/volume and increases the flow capacity of TCVs.
Kalsi Engineering will develop a miniature passive TCV utilizing its experience in developing many innovative product lines covering a wide range of sizes/pressure class by accounting and validating scalability of key design parameters by analysis and testing. The developed TCV will passively actuate in a response to a change in temperature of the working fluid and will control the fluid flow path. The same concept will be used to develop mixing and splitting TCV. The TCV will be used in MPSL systems of various NASA’s space applications. The TCV developed by KEI will be lighter, smaller in size, and will have an increased flow capacity. The key components of the proposed concept include spool/plug, thermal actuator, and drive mechanism. The TCV development will include rigorous design, analysis, and testing of each components of the valve.
The Phase I deliverables will include first principles based detailed analytical model of the TCV, prediction of the valve spool flow characteristics and fluid forces using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses, and verification of the spool flow characteristics and fluid forces using separate effects testing. The Phase II will include more rigorous testing and design refinements to deliver a functioning prototype.
The developed thermal control valve (TCV) will be used in mechanically pumped single-phase fluid loop (MPFL) thermal systems of various NASA’s space missions/programs like, Europa Clipper, Mars Perseverance Rover, Orion, and any future Mars, Lunar, and deep space manned/robotic exploration missions.
The developed thermal control valve (TCV) will be commercially used in mechanically pumped single-phase fluid loop (MPFL) thermal systems of various Non-NASA space exploration missions conducted by other space agencies like European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, and Indian Space Research Organization. Another potential application of TCV is in microsatellites thermal control systems.