ESAHomeSpace EngineeringMechanical
About thermal control
Spacecraft thermal control
What does thermal control do?
Space cryogenics
OverviewStirling and pulse tube coolersJoule Thomson coolersSub-kelvin coolersDensified propellantCryogenic composite tank and line
Heat transport technologies
OverviewCapillary-pumped two-phase heat transport technologyMechanically-pumped heat transport technology
Thermal protection systems
Thermal analysis
Contact us
printer friendly page
What does thermal control do?
Here are its goals:
  1. Maintain equipment temperature in specified ranges during all mission life.
  2. Guarantee optimum performances when equipment is operating
  3. Avoid damage when equipment is not operating
  4. Keep the specified temperature stability for delicate electronics, or stable optical components.
  5. Minimise temperature differences as specified between units, or temperature gradients along structural elements.
  6. Maintain boundary temperatures at interface between subsystems, to ease interface management
  7. Guarantee the correct operation of thermal control subsystem by means of design, analysis and test
  8. Determine the most influencing factors, and manage them within the satellite resources and Space environment constraints.
A typical thermal design loop consists of the following activities:
  • establish the thermal requirements
  • establish the worst environmental heat loads and power dissipation
  • elaborate the control means
  • build mathematical models to simulate the satellite thermal behaviour
  • analyse the design for worst environmental and dissipation heat loads
  • verify the design against the requirements
  • gather the budgets
  • change the design if necessary
  • verify the design by test and correlate the mathematical models

Last update: 27 March 2007

   Copyright 2000 - 2013 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.