Variable Surface Area Thermal Radiator

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Connecticut Analytical Corporation
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524
Principal Investigator


Due to increased complexity of spacecraft and longer expected life, more sophisticated and complex thermal management schemes are needed that will be capable of dissipating a wide variety of heat loads under harsh operating conditions. An optimal thermal control system must effectively vary the amount of heat dissipation while at the same time not burdening the spacecraft by utilizing the extremely limited spacecraft resources, such as mass, volume, or power.Several previous thermal control systems have successfully utilized movable louver and pinwheel type designs for enabling thermal control. Each type of louver system has the drawback of utilizing moving parts that can break or bind, and only enable course thermal control. A much better approach would be to have a conformal, flexible type louver system. The CAC system implements a variable thermal control system that consists of a thin membrane (<1mm) that is comprised of a plurality of small electrostaticly operated "louvers" that can be adjusted to varying degrees of inclination for variable heat rejection. The flexible electrostatic variable emissivity louver membrane is not only extremely lightweight, but also has the added benefit of being completely conformal to a spacecraft surface.