Mechanically-pumped heat transport technology

Mechanically-pumped fluid loop
Mechanically-pumped fluid loop
ESA started the development of mechanical pumps for space applications in the context of Spacelab, in the late 1970s. Later, the pumps for manned spacecraft were also developed.

Such pumps are suitable for integration into single-phase or two-phase cooling loops aiming to control the temperature of internally mounted payloads on manned or unmanned space vehicles.

Mechanical pump packages developed in the period from the late 1980s until the late 1990s had the following general features and benefits: the ability to maintain or assist the circulation of the fluid along the loop at the required flow rate(s) during all mission phases; the suitability for multi-fluid use, that is, compatible with a wide range of fluids, including de-mineralised water, ammonia, and environmentally friendly fluids; high reliability and operational flexibility and the highest efficiency possible in order to avoid unnecessary power consumption. Several space pumps, including their control equipment for fluids like water, ammonia, and freon have been developed under ESA contracts.

Since the early 2000s, mechanically-pumped fluid loops have also been considered as candidates for the heat transfer elements of the deployable radiators mounted on large telecommunications satellites.
Last update: 2 May 2007

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