Heat Pump Augmented Spacecraft Heat Rejection System

Period of Performance: 01/01/1988 - 12/31/1988

$500K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Abstract

DEFENSE SPACE MISSIONS WILL INTRODUCE SIGNIFICANT NEW TECHNOLOGICAL NEEDS FOR SPACECRAFT ENERGY SYSTEMS. HEAT-PUMP-AUGMENTED SPACECRAFT HEAT REJECTION SYSTEMS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE RADIATOR SIZE AND SYSTEM WEIGHT. THE PREVIOUS RESEARCH EFFORT HAS IDENTIFIED A SERIES OF WORKING FLUIDS THAT ARE SUPERIOR TO EXISTING WORKING FLUIDS AND IDENTIFIED FOUR PROMISING HEAT PUMP CONFIGURATIONS (TWO THERMALLY DRIVEN AND TWO ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN) THAT REQUIRE FURTHER DETAILED EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS. IN THE CURRENT RESEARCH PHASE, EXPERIMENTAL TESTING OF THE STABILITY, LUBRICATION QUALITY, AND THERMODYNAMIC PERFORMANCE OF THESE WORKING FLUIDS IS BEING PERFORMED. IN ADDITION, PROTOTYPES OF THE FOUR HEAT-PUMP CONFIGURATIONS ARE BEING DESIGNED, BUILT, AND TESTED IN NORMAL GRAVITY TO DETERMINE BOTH THE BEST THERMALLY DRIVEN AND BEST ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN HEAT PUMP CONFIGURATION FOR THE VERY STRINGENT SPACE CRAFT REQUIREMENTS (HIGH RELIABILITY, LOW WEIGHT, HIGH PERFORMANCE, AND ACCOMODATION OF HIGHLY VARIABLE DUTY CYCLES). EXPERIMENTAL VALIDATION OF THE PROPOSED INNOVATIONS ARE BEING PROVIDED AS ARE HARD NUMBERS FOR THE MASS, SIZE, AND PERFORMANCE OF EACH OF THE PROPOSED SYSTEMS (AND FLUIDS). THIS EFFORT IS EXPECTED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PROPOSED HEAT PUMP CONCEPTS HAVE SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS IN TERMS OF REDUCED WEIGHT, INCREASED RELIABILITY, AND INCREASED OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY.