Researching New Satellite Cooling Technology

The Air Force Research Laboratory is partnering with ThermAvant Technologies LLC, based in Columbia, Mo., to develop a next-generation microchip carrier to enable high-power processors that operate on satellites, according to a Jan. 11 release. The technology “will reduce the temperature of high-power satellite components to levels manageable by the spacecraft’s thermal processing,” improving reliability of the processors and allowing for increased on-boarding, states the release. “If successful, this technology solution could be headed for every major DOD space system, where it will replace the current, state-of-the-art technology developed during SBIR programs 10 years ago,” said Greg Spanjers, AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate chief scientist. The project is being tested by several commercial and military satellite and aerospace systems companies. Satellite processors currently operate at 10 percent of operating capability, due to insufficient thermal management. “Reducing the junction temperature allows for increased processing capability, up to 10 times more, and increases the expected lifetime of the on-board chips,” states the release.