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Cryocoolers 8 pp 845-854 | Cite as

Active Refrigeration for Space Astrophysics Missions

  • Lawrence A. Wade

Abstract

The use of cryogen dewars limits mission lifetime, increases sensor mass, and increases program engineering and launch costs on spacebased low-background, precision-pointing instruments, telescopes and interferometers. The recent development of long-life mechanical and sorption coolers capable of refrigeration to temperatures below 2.5 Kelvin, combined with the innovative use of cryogenic radiators and thermally advantageous orbits, is enabling long duration (>5 years) missions that can perform high resolution infrared and sub-mm wave astronomical observations. Several of the available long-life cooling techniques are summarized. This discussion includes: the use of radiators to temperatures as low as 30 K; and the combination of cryogenic radiators with mechanical coolers through a heat interceptor to substantially improve the cooler’s efficiency and reduce the required refrigeration. The design of a brassboard 10 K cooler, which will be completed in 1995, for cooling an IR camera is also outlined. A cooler based on this design can be constructed for flight missions which provides 10 mW of continuous refrigeration with an input power of less than 10 watts and a mass of six kg.

As an example of the potential benefits of this proposed thermal design strategy, the potential benefits to two missions, FIRST and WIRE, are described. The low mass and input power requirements associated with several of these long-life cooling techniques could lead to the development of a new class of small, inexpensive space observatories.

Keywords

Halo Orbit Cool Requirement Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Thermal Shield Pulse Tube Cooler 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence A. Wade
    • 1
  1. 1.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute Of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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