The 35th National Space Symposium provided a lot of good insights to the space industry. A strong combination of well-established industry leaders and new entrants into the market were introducing innovative designs. Several noticeable advancements include propulsion systems, launch vehicle reusability and micro and CubeSats. There was also a large emphasis on additive manufacturing. This approach allows for complex geometries that can meet mechanical requirements while greatly reducing weight. Several companies touted flight heritage with this technology.
The growth in the space industry is seemingly from both Government (US and International) and Commercial sectors. Although there is a decline in the commercial GEO Satellite market, the growth in LEO Satellites, MEO Satellites and Space Exploration missions puts the market in a healthy position. In fact, Morgan Stanley predicts the Space market will reach $1.1 Trillion by 2040. One of the major factors driving growth is the overwhelming reduction in launch cost from previous years. With more suppliers, lower cost rockets, reusable parts and ride sharing options, it’s never been more cost effective to get new technology to space. The launch cost savings has led to innovation on both the high and low end of the space Vehicle (SV) market. On the high-performance SV side, companies are seemingly investing more into mission capabilities and high reliability whereas on the low-performance SV side, companies are more willing to take risk and develop emerging technologies.
From a thermal perspective the challenge is driven by power, volume and weight constraints. The most asked about thermal technologies at the show were Copper-Water Heat Pipes, Ammonia Heat Pipes and Phase Change Material (PCM). Each of these options can provide high reliability, passive operation while limiting the mass and volume required compared to other solutions.
At ACT, our heat pipes have significant flight experience, while the PCM line has several ongoing programs that are working towards launch. Please contact us for an evaluation of your system, and expect to find engineering support through the design, manufacturing and qualification process.
A special thanks to our valued customers and new contacts that stopped by our booth. We hope everyone had a great show- ACT’s always excited to support the future of the space industry!