Within this paper the possible application of self-limiting heaters for satellite thermal control is presented. The focus is put on Minco’s SmartHeat SLT™ technology, which relies on the positive temperature coefficient effect and represents an affordable and highly promising heater solution. The investigation consisted of a detailed laboratory thermal test campaign and subsequent thermal analyses.
The test campaign presented in the paper was oriented on the ECSS and ESCC standards and comprised thorough active and passive characterizations, infrared camera measurements as well as a thermal vacuum test setup. Special attention was put on the cyclic performance of the SmartHeat SLT™ technology and its self-limiting set-point temperature.
As an example the thermal analyses of a propulsion thermal control system gave promising results for the comparison of self-limiting heaters and regular heaters. Moreover, the power adaptation to local conductive influences could be demonstrated and a more uniform temperature distribution on the fuel line was achieved.