Lancaster, PA June 26, 2017 – Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) announced today that it has achieved space flight heritage for its copper/water heat pipes and High Conductivity (HiK™) plates following the successful thermal testing on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Both copper/water heat pipes and HiK™ plates are very commonly used for thermal management of electronics equipment on earth, but have not been used in spacecraft thermal control applications due to the satellite industry’s requirement that any device or system be successfully tested in a microgravity environment prior to adoption. In the ISS test, the heat pipes were embedded in a HiK™ aluminum base plate, and subject to a variety of thermal tests over a temperature range of -10 to 38 ºC for a ten-day period. Results showed excellent agreement with both predictions and ground testing results. The HiK™ plate underwent 15 freeze-thaw cycles between -30 and 70 ºC during ground testing, and an additional 14 freeze-thaw cycles during the ISS test. As a reference, other HiK™ plates have been tested for thousands of freeze-thaw cycles without problems.
“This is a significant milestone and expands the thermal solutions we can offer to our satellite and spacecraft customers,” according to Dr. William Anderson, ACT’s Chief Engineer. “We already have over 18 million hours of flight heritage for our aluminum/ammonia constant conductance heat pipes (CCHPs). Now we can offer full system thermal solutions; spot cooling of electronic devices with our copper/water heat pipes, effective heat spreading of electronic boards and enclosures with our HiK™ plates, and efficient heat transport outside the electronics control box to dissipate the heat with our CCHPs. No other company can offer all of that.”
The ISS is the only long-duration platform in the space environment that can be used to validate these advanced technologies. ACT has been working with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA Johnson Space Center under the Advanced Passive Thermal experiment (APTx) project to achieve this result.
Dr. Mohammed Ababneh, ACT’s Principal Investigator on the project, said, “This flight test onboard ISS is an important step toward qualifying copper/water heat pipes as a passive thermal management solution in support of future human and robotic space exploration missions by NASA.”
ACT’s HiK™ plate was fabricated under a NASA Phase II SBIR contract at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) with Dr. Jeff Farmer as the technical monitor. The HiK™ plate formed part of a suite of devices flown inside the Advanced Passive Thermal experiment (APTx), a project funded by the ISS Technology Demonstration Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Its aim is to start addressing current technical gaps in thermal management systems for future human and robotic exploration missions. Mr. Angel Alvarez-Hernandez and Dr. Jeff Farmer are the APTx principal investigators, which is a collaboration between JSC, MSFC, the University of Texas, and Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc.
ACT specializes in advanced thermal technology development and custom thermal product manufacturing. ACT designs and manufactures cold plates, HiK™ plates, heat pipes, pumped liquid and two-phase loops and thermal storage devices for customers in diverse markets including Aerospace, Electronics, Temperature Calibration, Medical Device, and Energy Recovery Systems.
ACT’s team consists of personnel with established track records in technology development, commercialization and production. Many of them were involved in the pioneering work on heat pipes, loop heat pipes and other single and two-phase heat transfer devices. They are the inventors/co-inventors on numerous U.S. and international patents and the authors/co-authors of hundreds of scientific publications.
ACT’s Facility measures more than 50,000 square feet, including office, laboratory and manufacturing spaces. With ISO9001 and AS9100 certified quality system in place, the facility has designed and manufactured high quality, cost effective, thermal management solutions for dozens of mission critical satellite, and military programs as well as for numerous commercial applications. Simultaneously ACT’s broad and diverse R&D efforts are developing thermal solutions for tomorrow’s emerging technologies.
For more information about ACT, please visit www.1-ACT.com.