In addition to the development of space thermal control hardware and technology, ESA is actively engaged in the thermal design and analysis of spacecraft. This ranges from the initial concept phase right through to testing in vacuum chambers and solar simulators and beyond - into predictions of temperatures in flight. The appropriate choice of coatings and insulation and the location of instruments and components can have a significant effect on the thermal response of the spacecraft.
In order to improve the thermal design and analysis process, both to handle ever larger and more complex spacecraft and to reduce the time taken for an analysis campaign, ESA sponsors development work on analysis software, studies into new algorithms and modelling techniques, and the specification of open standards to allow model exchange between tools.
Thermal analysis software tools and methodologies are being used in virtually all space missions to support design and verification activities. ESA plays a key role in coordinating these and related activities at a European level.
Last update: 2 May 2007