Advancements in satellite technologies are increasing the power density of electronics and payloads. When the power consumption increases within a limited volume, waste heat generation also increases and this necessitates a proper and efficient thermal management system. Mostly, micro and nanosatellites use passive thermal control methods because of the low cost, no additional power requirement, ease of implementation, and better thermal performance. Passive methods lack the ability to meet certain thermal requirements on larger and smaller satellite platforms. This work numerically studies the performance of some of the passive thermal control techniques such as thermal straps, surface coatings, multi-layer insulation (MLI), and radiators for a 6U small satellite configuration carrying a mid-wave infrared (MWIR) payload whose temperature needs to be cooled down to 100K. Infrared (IR) imagers require low temperature, and the level of cooling is entirely dependent on the infrared wavelengths. These instruments are used for various applications including Earth observations, defence, and imaging at IR wavelengths. To achieve these low temperatures on such instruments, a micro-cryocooler is considered in this study. Most of the higher heat dissipating elements in the satellite are mounted to a heat exchanger plate, which is thermally coupled to an external radiator using thermal straps and heat pipes. The effects of the radiator size, orbital inclinations, space environments, satellite attitude with respect to the sun, and surface coatings are discussed elaborately for a 6U satellite configuration.

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Applied Sciences, 2022, 12(6), 2858
Shanmugasundaram Selvadurai, Amal Chandran, David Valentini, and Bret Lamprecht