A document describes a three-stage passive radiative cooler for a cryogenic spectrometer to be launched into a low orbit around the Moon. This cooler is relatively lightweight and compact, and its basic design is scalable and otherwise adaptable to other applications in which there are requirements for cooling instrumentation in orbit about planets.

The cooler includes multiple lightweight flat radiator blades alternating with cylindrical parabolic infrared reflectors. The radiator blades are oriented at an angle chosen to prevent infrared loading from the Moon limb at the intended orbital altitude and attitude. The reflectors are shaped and oriented to position their foci outside the radiator surfaces. There are six radiatorblade/ reflector pairs — two pairs for each stage of cooling. The radiator blades and reflectors are coated on their front and back surfaces with materials having various infrared emissivities, infrared reflectivities, and solar reflectivities so as to maximize infrared radiation to cold outer space and minimize inadvertent solar heating. The radiator blades and reflectors are held in place by a lightweight support structure, the components of which are designed to satisfy a complex combination of thermal and mechanical requirements.

This work was done by Jose I. Rodriguez of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Multistage Passive Cooler for Spaceborne Instruments

(reference NPO-44960) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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