Thermal vacuum test is widely used for the ground validation of spacecraft thermal control system. However, the conduction and convection can be simulated in normal ground pressure environment completely. By the employment of pumped fluid loops' thermal control technology on spacecraft, conduction and convection become the main heat transfer behavior between radiator and inside cabin. As long as the heat transfer behavior between radiator and outer space can be equivalently simulated in normal pressure, the thermal vacuum test can be substituted by the normal ground pressure thermal test. In this paper, an equivalent normal pressure thermal test method for the spacecraft single-phase fluid loop radiator is proposed. The heat radiation between radiator and outer space has been equivalently simulated by combination of a group of refrigerators and thermal electrical cooler (TEC) array. By adjusting the heat rejection of each device, the relationship between heat flux and surface temperature of the radiator can be maintained. To verify this method, a validating system has been built up and the experiments have been carried out. The results indicate that the proposed equivalent ground thermal test method can simulate the heat rejection performance of radiator correctly and the temperature error between in-orbit theory value and experiment result of the radiator is less than 0.5 °C, except for the equipment startup period. This provides a potential method for the thermal test of space systems especially for extra-large spacecraft which employs single-phase fluid loop radiator as thermal control approach.
Ning, X., Wang, Y., Zhang, J., & Liu, D. (2015). An equivalent ground thermal test method for single-phase fluid loop space radiator. Chinese Journal of Aeronautics, 28(1), 86–92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cja.2014.12.011