ROCKLEDGE, FL – March 18, 2009 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a leading research and development company specializing in advanced thermal control and energy conversion, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a rapidly configurable, modular thermal management system for Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) applications.
A significant hurdle to achieving the goals of ORS is the thermal control system. Traditionally, this system has been vigorously designed, analyzed, tested, and optimized for every satellite mission. This process is costly and time intensive; current design cycles require one to two years to complete, even for small satellites. To meet the goals of ORS, Mainstream will develop a thermal control system that is modular and scalable for a wide range of components, payloads, orbits, and mission requirements.
The system comprises a two-phase, isothermal, low-lift heat pump loop with interchangeable components. Multiple advanced cooling technologies are employed, such as refrigerant spray cooling and microchannel heat exchangers, to keep system size to a minimum. Compressor and radiator modules are included in the design, the former drawing less than 10 watts of electrical power to cool the satellite’s entire electronics suite. Mainstream developed and demonstrated this technology for larger thermal control applications and now will show that it is scalable and ideally suited for small satellite thermal control.