NASA has selected eight proposals to develop advanced thermal control system technologies for future spacecraft as part of its Game Changing Development Program (GCD). The program was created to investigate novel ideals and approaches to protect spacecraft and the astronauts within while enabling them to remain in space for longer periods of time.
The selected proposals will address the difficult design challenge of developing a thermal control system that can reject high heat loads in a warm thermal environment while remaining capable of operating efficiently in a cold environment.
“The technologies selected as part of this activity address today’s most difficult design challenge facing thermal engineers and are applicable to all future crewed and robotic exploration missions,” Stephen Gaddis, NASA GCD program director, said. “Advancing state of the art thermal control systems will be the rising tide that lifts all future spacecraft designs.”
The proposals that have been selected for contract negotiations are:
- “Improved Variable Conductance Heat Pipes, iVCHP,” from Sergey Semenov, Thermacore Inc.;
- “A Spacecraft Thermal Management System with Freeze-Tolerant Radiator,” from Grant Bue, NASA Johnson Space Center;
- “Development of Low Temperature Non-Toxic Thermal Control Fluid for Use in a Single Loop Variable Heat Rejection Thermal Control System” from Rubik Sheth, NASA Johnson Space Center;
- “Thermal Control Using Liquid-Metal Bridge Switches,” from Amir Hirsa, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;
- “Temperature Controlled Effective Radiator Area Using Shape Memory Alloys” from Thomas Cognata, MEI Technologies, Inc.,;
- “Development of a Heat Switch Radiator,” from Gregory Quinn, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc.;
- “Scalable, Passive, Adjustable Heat Rejection System (SPAHRS)” from David Bugby, ATK Space Systems; and
- “Development of a Robust Freeze Start-Up Radiator” from Wei-Lin Cho, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc.
Awards for Phase 1 of the program range up to $50,000 per proposal, with a total NASA investment of approximately $400,000.