Fluid Accumulators Delivered to the International Space Station
Four fluid compensation accumulators installed in NASA’s Cloud Aerosol Transport Systems (CATS) instrument were successfully delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s CRS 5 dragon capsule, which docked with the space station on January 13, 2015. The all-stainless-steel accumulators, manufactured by Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc., Lancaster, Pa., provide volumetric compensation for fluid property changes across the temperature range experienced in spacecraft applications— from -40 to 131°F (-40 to 55°C).
The new product was designed, manufactured and qualified by ACT to operate for up to three years in this challenging environment, according to the company. ACT introduced the accumulators in response to multiple requests for a rapid design and development supplier for custom, flight qualified, fluid compensation systems.
“These accumulators are a logical expansion beyond heat pipes for our aerospace product offerings. We’re utilizing the same high quality flight hardware practices, customer responsiveness, product development innovation and manufacturing talent sets for a different product in a similar market” says Mike DeChristopher, ACT Lead Engineer, Defense and Aerospace Products Group.
ACT’s Defense and Aerospace Products Group has accumulated a significant on-orbit flight heritage with its heat pipe products. The group’s satellite thermal control products include constant-conductance, variable-conductance and loop heat pipes (CCHP, CVHP and LHP) as well as struts and accumulators.