Microgravity Science and Technology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 311–316 | Cite as

Flex Heat Pipe East-West Deployable Radiator

  • Jay AmbroseEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Heat pipe systems for thermal management in space


Lockheed Martin has developed a patented solution for increasing payload power on communications satellites which introduces a coupled East-West radiator assembly with deployable radiators. The deployable radiators are deployed in integration and test phases to provide equipment access. The equipment is mounted onto internal structural panels and is thermally coupled to both east and west radiators by flexible heat pipes which have dual condensers. Coupling to both east and west radiators provides greater average heat dissipation. This application is uniquely demanding for the flexible heat pipes due to heat transport, operating temperatures, pressure cycling and deployment cycling. This paper describes derivation of requirements for the flexible heat pipes for the radiator assembly, and qualification testing to verify that the heat pipe design will work as intended. A structural qualification unit was subjected to thermal cycling, pressure cycling, vibration, flex cycling and ultimately burst testing. The qualification unit was modified following burst test into a single condenser unit. It was then charged and subjected to thermal performance testing. The test results verify that the flexible heat pipe design meets all requirements for the East-West radiator assembly.


Radiators Spacecraft integration Design of heat pipes Flexible heat pipes 



The contributions of Messrs. Russ Mosso and Peter Freedman to the conduct and review of the technical effort are appreciated. Contributions of Messrs. Matt Carter, Rick Davis and John Boney to the test program are appreciated.


  1. AIAA Standard S-080-1998 Space Systems – Metallic Pressure Vessels, Pressurized Structures, and Pressure Components, September 13, 1999Google Scholar
  2. AIAA Standard S-114-2005 Moving Mechanical Assemblies for Space and Launch Vehicles, June 30, 2005Google Scholar
  3. P.J. Brennan, E.J. Kroliczek, H. Jen and R. McIntosh, “Aixally grooved heat Pipes-1976”, AIAA 77-747, 12th AIAA Thermophysics Conference, June 27-29, 1977Google Scholar
  4. D. M. Ernst and R.M. Shaubach, “Articulated heat pipe concepts and developments”, 13th Intersociety Conference on Environmental Systems, San Francisco, CA, July 11-13, 1983Google Scholar
  5. G. Fiedziusko, H. Lee, A. Howell and S. Holme, “recent advances in high power/high temperature satellite multiplexers”, 29th AIAA International Communications Satellite Systems Conference, Nara, Japan, Nov. 28-Dec. 01, 2011Google Scholar
  6. E.W. Saaski and J.P. Wright, “A flexible cryogenic heat pipe”, AIAA 75-658, 10th AIAA Thermophysics Conference, May 27-29, 1975Google Scholar
  7. R.B. Schweickart and M.M. Buchko, “Flexible heat pipes for CCD cooling on the advanced camera for surveys”, SPIE Conference on Space Telescopes and Instruments V, Kona, Hawaii, March 1998Google Scholar
  8. L. Streckert and J. Ambrose, “Steady-state performance results for a flexible high-performance variable conductance heat pipe”, International Conference on Environmental Systems, Savannah, GA, July 12-16, 2009Google Scholar
  9. US Patent 8,967,547, Spacecraft East-West Radiator Assembly (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lockheed Martin SpaceCaliforniaUSA

Personalised recommendations