Thermal Control Design and Simulation of a Space Mission
Abstract: The following document describes an example mission, which originated from a real life concept of an imaging satellite in a Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO)around Earth. This report takes the reader through the thermal analysis and evaluation of space equipment performed with Airbus Space & Defence’s Systema/Thermica tool, at Space Structures GmbH. It details the full process of designing a thermal control system for a space project. The project started from a CAD file which was converted into a Geometric Mathematical Model (GMM) inside Thermica. This process requires an extensive knowledge of not only the software, but also the technical background behind what happens to a satellite in such an extreme environment. This thesis addresses this by showing a step-by-step approach of a full thermal evaluation, starting with the required theoretical background of the thermal environment and the different passive and active thermal design techniques. The next step involves gathering the required input information for the software; such as defining the conductance values between the components and calculating the per node power dissipation for each component considering each operational mode. The final step includes the designing, simulation, iteration and presentation of the temperature results across the spacecraft thermal model. The results of the initial simulation showed that some sensitive components were not within the specified temperature requirements, and therefore both radiators and heaters were sized and introduced to the model. After the third iteration of thermal control, the sensitive components’ temperatures were observed to be within the allowable margins of an ECSS Phase A study. This thesis can serve as a guide and complete document for future missions which plan the design of a Thermal Control System of a satellite in orbit around Earth.
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