The Japanese Experiment Module – Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) is a platform on the International Space Station (ISS) that is continuously exposed to the space environment. Up to 8 instruments can be installed on the facility at any time, typically focusing on Earth observation, as well as communication, scientific, and engineering experiments.
JEM-EF provides utilities to each payload location, including power, control, and active cooling using a single-phase pumped loop. All instruments plugged into the JEM-EF system require accumulators to accommodate fluid volume changes during launch, and while plugged into the cooling system. ACT developed, fabricated, and tested accumulators to accommodate the JEM-EF requirements. All stainless-steel accumulators provide volumetric compensation for fluid property changes across the broad temperature range experienced during launch and operation, from -40°C to 55°C. This product was designed, manufactured and qualified by ACT to operate for up to 3 years in this challenging environment. ACT introduced the accumulators in response to multiple requests for a rapid design and development supplier for custom, flight-qualified, fluid compensation systems.
Four of ACT’s four fluid compensation accumulators installed in NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Transport Systems (CATS) instrument were successfully delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s CRS 5 Dragon capsule. After installation on the Japanese Experiment Module – Exposed Facility (JEM-EF), the CATS system then successfully operated for over two years. Additional accumulators in another instrument are scheduled for installation on JEM-EF.