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BETSCE Flight Experiment Cryo/Thermal Design

The Brilliant Eyes Ten-Kelvin Cryocooler Experiment (BETSCE) (pictured above) was developed by JPL in support of BMDO's Brilliant Eyes mission and was successfully tested in orbit aboard STS-77 in May 1996. The design and construction involved a teaming between JPL and two key industry partners: Aerojet of Azusa, CA, who provided the hydride sorption compressors, and APD of Allentown, PA, who provided the cryostat assembly.

The objective of the BETSCE experiment was to demonstrate the 10-K sorption cooler technology in the microgravity space environment, and to develop the needed flight database to support future flight-cooler development efforts.

The cryo/thermal design of the BETSCE experiment involved providing a 70 K Stirling-cooler upper stage for the 10 K sorption cooler, and managing the extensive heat rejected by the sorbent beds, Stirling coolers, and control electronics. The large lower radiator, shown in the above photo, provided the heat rejection for the experiments electronics, while the large upper radiator provided the heat rejection for the three 70K Stirling coolers; the size of the radiators is magnified by the relatively poor view of space from the shuttle interior.


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