AIM Space Cryocooler Programs
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As an experienced supplier of tactical IR-technology, AIM is now involved in several IR space programs covering applications at different wavelengths. To the meet demands for compactness and weight, AIM has focused on Integrated Detector Cooler Assemblies (IDCA). This approach provides for the elimination of the detector - cooler interfaces on the customer side. Cryocoolers used in the IDCA configuration are based upon the designs of the AIM Flexure Bearing Moving Magnet family. Due to volume production, all relevant components and manufacturing processes have achieved a high level of maturity and thus enabling accurate reliability prediction. To apply standard processes for the fabrication of space IDCA, the cold finger needs to fit into a standard dewar interface. Therefore, the pulse-tube cold finger was developed with standard Stirlingtype dimensions. To retain maximum flexibility, the cold finger is designed for use with different sizes of flexure bearing compressors. The buffer volume and inertance tube are optimized for individual compressor types and performance requirements. The qualification activities for two different space programs are ongoing and their respective results will be presented in this paper. Furthermore, detailed performance characteristics at variable conditions will be presented.