Cryocoolers for Microsatellite Military Applications
Space qualified cryocoolers have been extensively developed for large military and commercial satellite electro-optical (EO) infrared (IR) missions, but not so for microsatellites due to the complexity of the thermodynamics and fluid mechanics of the mechanical refrigeration system. The trend in military responsive space programs is leaning towards microsatellites that are cheaper and faster to build and launch. No longer can cryocoolers take 3-5 years to develop at a cost of millions. Therefore solutions to the cryogenic needs for microsatellites are presented through research into the thermodynamic processes. Discussions will include efficiency improvements to reduce the size, weight, and power constraints of space qualified cryocoolers, as well as current state-of-the-art cryocoolers that meet the needs of military microsatellites.