Microgravity Science and Technology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 327–337 | Cite as

On-orbit Experiment Plan of Loop Heat Pipe and the Test Results of Ground Test

  • Atsushi OkamotoEmail author
  • Takeshi Miyakita
  • Hosei Nagano
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Heat pipe systems for thermal management in space


It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the challenging thermal control requirements of modern spacecraft missions with only existing thermal control devices such as conventional heat pipes. A loop heat pipe (LHP) is an effective method to overcome some of these thermal control constraints. The LHP is a passive two-phase heat transfer device that utilizes the evaporation and condensation of a working fluid to transfer heat and capillary force to circulate the fluid. The LHP can transport much heat for a long distance against gravity and has many other excellent characteristics, such as high controllability of operating temperature and a shutdown function. In this study, LHPs for space application have been developing. As a part of the study, a bread board model (BBM) of LHP was designed and fabricated. As a result of an on-ground test of the BBM, it was confirmed that the BBM fulfilled all requirement (e.g. maximum heat transport rate, minimum required heat load for start-up, operating temperature control and shutdown function). To adopt the LHP as a heat transfer device in practical spacecraft mission, the thermal characteristics under micro-gravity conditions should be examined in advance. An on-orbit experiment of a LHP radiator system is planned. This paper describes the test plan of on-orbit experiment of a LHP radiator system on the International Space Station (ISS) and the results of thermal vacuum test of flight model for on-orbit experiment on ground.


Loop Heat Pipe Thermal Control Satellite Heat transfer On-orbit experiment 



  1. Ambrose, J.: Flex Heat Pipe East-West Deployable Radiator. J. Microgravity Sci. Technol. (2019).
  2. S. Galouye, T. Tjiptahardja, S. Oost, G. Bekaert and W. Supper, “DELPHARAD: Lightweight & High Performance Deployable Radiator Development Program,” SAE Paper No.2004-01-2554, 2004.Google Scholar
  3. K. Goncharov, A. Orlov, A. Tarabrin, M. Gottero, V. Perotto, S. Tavera and P. Zoppo, “1500 W deployable radiator with loop heat pipe,” SAE Paper No.2001-01-2194, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. E.W. Grob, “System Accommodation of Propylene Loop Heat Pipes for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument”, SAE Paper No.2001-01-2263, 2001Google Scholar
  5. T.T. Hoang and J. Ku, “Heat and Mass Transfer in Loop Heat Pipes”, Proceedings of 2003 ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference, July 21–23, 2003, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.Google Scholar
  6. H. Kawasaki, T. Yabe, A. Okamoto, H. Ishikawa, T. Nomura, and Y. Saito, ”Characteristics of Reservoir Embedded Loop Heat Pipe in an Orbital Environment in the First Year”, SAE Paper No.2009-01-2518, 2009.Google Scholar
  7. J. Ku, “Operating Characteristics of Loop Heat Pipes”, SAE Paper No.1999-01-2007, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. C. Lashley, S. Krein and P. Barcomb, “Deployable Radiators – A Multi-Discipline Approach,” SAE Paper No.981691, 1998.Google Scholar
  9. Y.F. Maidanik and Y.G. Fershtater, “Theoretical Basis and Classification of Loop Heat Pipes and Capillary Pumped Loops”, Proc. 10th International Heat Pipe Conference, X-7, pp.1-15, 1997.Google Scholar
  10. H. Nagai and S. Ueno, “Performance Evaluation of Double-condenser Loop Heat Pipe onboard Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) in Thermal Vacuum Testing”, SAE Paper No.2005-01-2939, 2005.Google Scholar
  11. A. Okamoto, R. Hatakenaka and M. Murakami, “Visualization of a Loop Heat Pipe Using Neutron Radiography”, Heat Pipe Science and Technology 21-4), pp.161-172, 2011.Google Scholar
  12. S. Oost, M. Dubois, G. Bedaert, B. Moschetti and M. Amidies, “High Performance Capillary Loop, Operation Mapping and Applications on STENTOR”, SAE Paper No.961565, 1996.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manager for thermal division, Research and Development DirectorateJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)TsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Research and Development DirectorateJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)TsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations