Issues and Implications of the Thermal Control System on Responsive Space Missions
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM SPACE VEHICLES DIRECTORATE
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One aspect that poses a significant hurdle to achieving the goals of Operationally Responsive Space ORS is the thermal control system TCS. Traditionally the TCS must be vigorously designed, analyzed, tested, and optimized from the ground up for every satellite mission. This reinvention of the wheel is costly and time intensive. Current design cycles require years. Next generation satellite thermal management must be robust, modular, and scalable in order to cover a wide range of applications, orbits, and mission requirements. To provide a better understanding of the issues and implications of the TCS and to help bound the problem for the development of robust and modular thermal designs, a preliminary analysis was conducted to determine the upper and lower design bounds for a small responsive satellite. In addition, the range of external heat loads for small satellites in low earth orbit were evaluated. From this analysis, the worst hot and cold cases conditions were identified. Using these two cases, various design parameters were evaluated, three different design approaches were compared, and the feasibility of a one-size-fits-all approach was assessed.