Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Aerospace Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

David Klaus

Second Advisor

James Nabity

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Thayer


A spacecraft thermal control system must keep the cabin and electronic equipment within operational temperature ranges by transporting heat out of the spacecraft. This process is generally accomplished via a series of air-to-liquid heat exchangers with ultimate dissipation to space via radiator panels, and requires various flow regulation schemes to maintain the desired thermal balance. In contrast, a proposed self-regulating freezable heat exchanger is designed to passively maintain and regulate thermal control through water ice buildup within the heat exchanger structure. In order to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of this technology, an integrated analysis of the thermal loads encountered by an orbital spacecraft was conducted. The analysis determines the expected internal and external heat loads on the spacecraft, outlines potential implementation of the hardware into the thermal control system, and predicts the expected performance of the technology. The results attained partially validate the capability of the self-regulating freezable heat exchanger to reject the anticipated range of heat loads. Additional testing will be conducted to further asses the full capabilities of the design. The full test and subsequent results will allow a detailed performance analysis to ultimately establish the feasibility of and options for incorporating the self-regulating freezable heat exchanger into a spacecraft thermal control architecture.