After releasing a solicitation to help solve a challenging spacecraft thermal management issue, NASA’s Game Changing Development Program has selected Thermacore’s solution for potential use in future spacecraft. To help meet the problematic need for creating systems that can reject high heat loads in a warm thermal environment and can also operate in extremely cold environments where maintenance is difficult or impossible, Thermacore and seven other researcher’s solutions were chosen as potentially eligible.
Thermacore’s resolution details an improved variable-conductance heat pipe (VCHP) that contains a novel working fluid that operates in a very wide temperature range and uses a patent-pending proprietary orifice disk for fluid movement control. The disk and fluid combination allows the VCHP to operate in a wider range of applications than standard heat pipes and is a more cost-effective, lower mass option than conventional VCHO’s that are currently being used.
The NASA Game Changing Development Program is a four-phase initiative. Phase I is designed to study the feasibility of the thermal management concepts involved. Once the concepts are approved for further development, future phases will involve benchtop testing, detailed drawings for a scaled-down model, and in Phase IV, fabrication of a prototype for testing. Completion of all four phases is expected to take approximately three years.