Space cryocoolers are miniature refrigerators designed to cool sensitive spacecraft components to cryogenic temperatures. Cryogenic temperatures are necessary for the operation of many modern devices such as infrared detectors and focal planes, solid-state gamma-ray detectors, and a number of emerging superconducting technologies. Typical temperatures range from the boiling point of liquid Nitrogen at 77 K (-321°F), down to near the boiling point of liquid Helium at 4 K (-453°F). Many near-term and future space-instrument programs within NASA and the DoD depend upon the successful application of long-life, low-vibration space cryocoolers.
JPL Cryocooler Program Focus
In the 1988 timeframe increasing numbers of proposed space-instrument programs within NASA and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) were in need of high-reliability, long-life, low-vibration space cryocoolers. To ensure the success of its emerging cryogenic instrument commitments, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) implemented a focused multi-year cryocooler program. Over the past 10+ years the JPL cryocooler program has included the procurement/development of pulse tube cryocoolers for the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instruments, the conduct of extensive characterization testing of 22 industry-developed cryocoolers, the development and flight-testing of a wide variety of cryocooler integration technologies, and the development of sorption cryocoolers for use at 10 to 25 K. Good reviews of the overall JPL and NASA cryocooler programs are presented in the review papers titled "JPL Cryocooler Development and Test Program: A 10-year Overview" and "Overview of NASA Space Cryocooler Programs."
The high level of commonality that exists between JPL/NASA and DoD cryocooler requirements has fostered a highly collaborative, cooperative program at JPL involving a combination of NASA and DoD sponsorship, and a close working relationship with the world-wide cryocooler development community. Links to the various JPL cryocooler activities are available through the above photo buttons and the entries on the left NavBar.
The JPL cryocooler program has been focused in four areas:
Dr. Ronald Ross
|Privacy | Image Policy||Webmaster:
Latest update: June 14, 20012