Satellite cooling system breakthrough

Dec 05, 2013 by Buddy Nelson
Weighing just over 11 ounces, and less than four inches long in greatest dimension, the microcryocooler is expected to have an operating life of 10 years or more.

Scientists and engineers at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) have developed the lightest satellite cryocooler, (cooling system) ever built. The breakthrough is seen as a game-changer in the design of affordable, advanced-technology flight systems, as it costs up to ten thousand dollars a pound for a satellite to orbit the Earth.

Known as a microcryocooler, the new weighs approximately 11 ounces, three times lighter than its predecessor, and is expected to have an operating life of at least ten years. The microcryocooler operates like a refrigerator, drawing heat out of and delivering highly efficient cooling to small science satellites orbiting the Earth and on missions to the .

"Temperatures as low as -320 F are required for infrared instruments and the coolers must operate with minimum power and long lifetimes," said Ted Nast, Lockheed Martin fellow at the ATC in Palo Alto. "That is why we constantly pursue a deeper understanding of the dynamic effects of temperature on cutting-edge technology and develop new systems, like our microcryocooler, that will perform successfully within the demands and constraints presented by severe, operational thermal environments."

Explore further: Latest GOES-R instrument cleared for installation onto spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lockheed Martin powers on the first GPS III satellite

Mar 01, 2013

The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force's next generation Global Positioning System III satellites has turned on power to the system module of the program's first spacecraft, designated G ...

Major GPS III flight software milestone completed

Feb 07, 2013

The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force's next generation Global Position System III satellites has completed a key flight software milestone validating the software's ability to provide re ...

Recommended for you

Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

1 hour ago

Anyone who has seen the movies of Neil Armstrong's first bounding steps on the moon couldn't fail to be intrigued by his unusual walking style. But, contrary to popular belief, the astronaut's peculiar walk ...

Space: The final frontier... open to the public

3 hours ago

Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical and psychological standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges. However, with ...

NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare (w/ Video)

3 hours ago

On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare – an example of one of the strongest solar flares—on ...

NASA's Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

3 hours ago

Mars, get ready for another visitor or two. This weekend, NASA's Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet following a 10-month journey spanning 442 million miles (711 million kilometers).

User comments : 0