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Thermal Testing of a Heat Switch for European Mars Rover

Carlo Gavazzi Space SpA-Alberto Franzoso, Marco Molina
ESA/ESTEC-Guido Barbagallo
Published 2009-07-12 by SAE International in United States
A Heat Switch has been developed, namely a device able to autonomously regulate its own thermal conductance in function of the equipment dissipation and environmental heat sink conditions. It is based on a Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) technology, with a passive bypass valve which diverts the flow to the Compensation Chamber when needed for regulation purposes.The target application is the potential use on a Mars Rover thermal control system.The paper recalls the Heat Switch design, and reports the results of an extensive test campaign on the ground demonstrator. The performance of the device was found extremely satisfying, and often exceeded the system requirements.
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A Heat Switch for European Mars Rover

Carlo Gavazzi Space SpA-Marco Molina, Alberto Franzoso, Alessandro Bursi
ESA/ESTEC-Guido Barbagallo
Published 2008-06-29 by SAE International in United States
The future Mars rover thermal design presents a unique challenge to the thermal engineers: the need arises for a thermal control system able to keep rover elements within their operational and non-operational temperature ranges in the face of extreme environmental conditions, characterized by broad day/night temperature excursions, cold biased conditions and long periods in standby modes induced by dust storms.A thermal device is needed, which allows the removal of excess heat from dissipating units during the Martian day and to keep them above their minimum operational/survival temperature during night. Moreover the scientific goals introduce strict requirements in terms of allowable internal components temperature ranges and thermal stability, which the candidate device has to fulfill against wide-ranging power dissipation modes.Such a device has been called Variable Thermal Conductance Device, or ‘Heat Switch’. The paper presents a heat switch demonstrator concept, which is based on a Loop Heat Pipe with a temperature-regulating valve.Heat Switch specifications are reviewed, and the main design characteristics to meet the requirements are explained. The demonstrator has been designed, built and tested for…
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