Temperature Control

Engineers with the Air Force Research Lab’s materials and manufacturing directorate at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, say they have successfully integrated two existing technologies to create a new thermal control system for future satellites. The new active-temperature control system is compact and much lighter than state-or-the-art devices with similar functions, requires very little power, and has minimal data storage requirements. It combines an electrostatic radiator, developed by Sensortek, Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., and a heat-flux-based emissivity measuring method created by Advanced Thermal and Environmental Concepts, Inc., of College Park, Md. After testing in a large vacuum chamber, the system was included as part of NASA’s MISSE-6 on-orbit experiment that was carried into space in March by the Space Shuttle Endeavor. (Wright-Patterson report by Heyward Burnette)