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: Image: The colors of sunset over the ISS

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

Image: The colors of sunset over the ISS

12 hours ago

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took these images from the International Space Station during her six-month mission. The Progress cargo ship and Soyuz crew spacecraft reflect sunlight as our star sets ...

Feud on Earth but peace in space for US and Russia

14 hours ago

Hundreds of kilometres below on Earth, their governments are locked in a standoff over Ukraine—but up in space, Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts are still working together side by side.

Japan launches replacement spy satellite

15 hours ago

Japan on Thursday successfully launched a replacement spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, as an existing device comes to the end of its working life.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.