In order to optimize the performance of advanced modular power system (AMPS) for future deep space exploration missions, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) proposes to develop a novel cooling system consisting of multiple thermal management solutions (two-phase thermal plane, conduction enhancement card retainers, etc.), which can minimize the thermal resistance and the temperature drop across the heat transfer path from the semiconductors, to a circuit board, to chassis rails and eventually to the heat rejection system of the space vehicle. The thermal plane will incorporate advanced two-phase concepts to enable high heat flux thermal management and enable a reliable operation (i.e. smooth start-up) in microgravity, etc. In Phase I, ACT will perform a detailed trade study to optimize the performance, mass, and volume of the embedded heat transfer devices for 3U electronic cards. With a given trade space, multiple versions of two-phase thermal planes will be developed. The best solutions will be integrated into a prototype cooling system designed for AMPS. Both transient and steady-state thermal performance testing will be carried out. The experimental data will be used to validate and correlate a mathematical model, also developed in Phase I. The electricity consumption, total mass, volume and the cost of the proposed cooling system for different modular electronics units will be evaluated and reported at the end of Phase I. Phase II will involve component level optimization as well as system-level modeling and experimental validation. Multiple ground-based validation testing and a potential reduced-gravity flight demonstration will be performed in Phase II.
The proposed cooling solution packages can effectively and reliably remove the waste heat from AMPS cards to the enclosure. This will allow for a long duration operation of high power and high-performance electronics in space. The modular electronic units with enhanced cooling performance will be useful for many NASA applications, including human landing systems, cis-lunar Gateway, Mars planetary habitat, etc. The two-phase thermal plane concept is also applicable for high-performance CubeSat thermal management.
The proposed cooling system for high power density electronics (e,g, MOSFETs, GTOs, IGBTs, IGCTs) has great market potential. Various “plug-and-play” components developed in this program will be adaptable for many terrestrial l applications, including multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) for military/DoD communication systems, data center cooling, etc.