Three times more power density the charm for Lockheed Martin cooling system

  • 27-Aug-2015 05:05 EDT
260829 lockheed martin tiny satellite.jpg

Lockheed Martin’s High Power Microcryocooler is three times more powerful than its first design—and just as power efficient—and capable of reaching temperatures as low as -320°F. This allows for smaller, more compact IR sensor systems and novel sensor configurations.

Scientists and engineers at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) have packed three times the power density into a key satellite cooling system whose previous design it says was already the lightest in its class. This project continues the company’s effort to reduce component size, enabling compact, higher-power spacecraft payloads, and smaller sensor platforms back on Earth.

Highly sophisticated electronics like satellite sensors and cameras need to be cooled to detect what they’re designed to capture, even to temperatures as low as -320°F. The company describes the microcryocooler operating like a refrigerator, drawing heat out of sensor systems and delivering cooling to small satellites

Smaller cryocoolers mean more affordable satellites and launches. With higher power, this microcryocooler enables larger, more sensitive IR sensors, which is useful for very high-resolution images. Despite its increased capability, the component’s power efficiency rating is roughly the same as lower-power coolers.

The High Power Microcryocooler is a high-reliability system designed to provide continuous operation over a lifespan in excess of 10 years. It is claimed to be the industry’s highest power density cryocooling system, delivering more than 150 W/kg, a significant advancement from the 30-60 W/km rating most space-rated cryocoolers deliver. It also weighs less than a pound, which is less than half the weight of similar cooling systems.

“Our previous design was a revolution in size, and now we’re taking it further and packing it with increased power. This will make a difference for technology in space, on naval ships, and aboard aircraft,” said Dr. Jeffrey Olson, a research scientist at Lockheed Martin’s ATC.

HTML for Linking to Page
Page URL
Rate It
4.60 Avg. Rating

Read More Articles On

Carbon fibers derived from a sustainable source, a type of wild mushroom, and modified with nanoparticles have been shown to outperform conventional graphite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
Algorithms can help reduce airport congestion, making the entire trip smarter for the aircraft crew and passengers, not to mention air-traffic control personnel.
Imperial College London researchers are working on technology that could allow drones to stay airborne indefinitely simply by hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge.
Connectivity spawns need for security designed-in from the beginning, a complex issue that spans many disciplines.

Related Items

Technical Paper / Journal Article
Training / Education
Technical Paper / Journal Article
Technical Paper / Journal Article
Technical Paper / Journal Article