Demonstration of a Thermally-Controlled Shipping Container for NanoRack and CubeSat Payloads

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$125K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A significant challenge faced by space-bound experiment packages is the requirement for a minimally controlled environment while a small payload is awaiting launch or is in transit to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA is seeking thermal solutions for the transportation of NanoRack and CubeSats experimental payloads. This proposal discusses a unique thermally-controlled storage/shipping container that can provide active cooling to maintain a pre-determined set-point temperature during the storage and transport of small payloads prior to being loaded aboard the Soyuz launch vehicle for transport to the ISS. For example, as discussed further in this proposal, this lightweight, compact, reusable, shipping container can provide 60¿aF thermal environment inside the container, when exposed to 130¿aF ambient temperature for at least 12 hours while only being powered by two commercial AA NiMH rechargeable batteries (and unlimited duration thermal control when connected to external power). The Thermally Controlled Shipping Container for small satellite payloads will also have data recording and wireless monitoring capability. Phase I will demonstrate the system with a NanoRack or CubSat payload, thereby reducing the risk during a follow-on Phase II effort. This proposal contains technical details and photographs of critical components of the system, which have already been demonstrated on Internal R & D (to clearly demonstrate the potential of the proposed approach). A detailed commercialization study which shows a significant markets for this technology in the microclimate cooling, electronic cooling and thermally-controlled shipping container markets is also included. Mainstream is well versed in this technology, has critical patents pending on the technology, and this work dovetails well with our existing and developing product lines. Mainstream has sufficient financial resources and experience to commercialize this technology.