Space Applications: ThermOmegaTech Thermostatic Valves Reduce Stress on Critical Power Supplies

Harsh conditions in space present development challenges, which is why engineers rely on critical components to ensure proper operation in extreme environments.

ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA, USA, Nov. 3, 2022 / — Designers should prepare for the extreme temperatures encountered in space, but the intricacies of space travel are not limited to extreme thermal variations. For systems sent to the upper atmosphere and beyond to the stars, considerations must be made to reduce payload weight, extend life, and minimize battery drain.

First, weight: the cost to launch 1 pound of anything into space – food, medical supplies, etc. – is $1,200 to $10,000. (To put that into perspective, a single block of butter currently sitting in your kitchen weighs 1 lb.) Designers should do everything possible to reduce payload weight. This is mainly achieved by replacing the raw material with lighter materials, such as high-strength 7075 forged aluminum in place of steel, and designing components as compact as possible.

Second, the lifespan: most systems sent into space are intended to remain in the atmosphere for more than 24 hours – think of satellites, the International Space Station and the Mars Rover – and so they must be designed with a long life in mind. .

Designers must include high-quality parts that are cycle-tested extensively to withstand many modulations and constant operation for years, even decades.

Additionally, for eventual long-haul human-crewed space travel, vital components should be designed to be easily replaced with a spare, without having to dissect and disassemble the entire system in which it resides.

Electricity in space is generated from solar energy or fuel cells. In either case, fuel conservation is an important requirement. Designers should consider using mechanically operated thermostatic valves in their temperature control systems to reduce stress on critical power supplies. These valves operate without an energy source, based solely on thermal variations, and therefore do not require central energy sources. Unlike electrical components, thermostatic actuators monitor and react to temperature changes in fluids such as air, water, glycol, steam, and others.

An example of thermal actuator technology in action would be a spacecraft that uses self-powered mixing/diverting valves for ambient temperature control.

When the ambient temperature is below the valve’s “set point”, the internal spool adjusts to maintain the desired setting. This is accomplished by the valve’s internal actuator which senses the change and adjusts accordingly via phase change technology.

By using a self-contained thermal actuator triggered by real-time and continuous temperature variations, power requirements for cabin air temperature regulation are eliminated, reducing the overall load on batteries and cells on-board fuel.

The extreme conditions of space demand extreme creativity from design engineers. By considering these hazards and planning for them, they can give their systems the best chance of operating successfully under critical conditions.

About ThermOmegaTech

Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech® is a leading designer and manufacturer of self-actuating temperature control valves and thermal actuators. Experts in phase change thermostatic actuator technology, ThermOmegaTech® specializes in the manufacture of prototypes/small volumes and high-tech custom products for the aerospace and defense industry. AS9100D certified, they provide innovative thermally controlled custom solutions that can integrate seamlessly into your system for applications such as thermal bypass in hydraulic systems, avionics electronics cooling, fluid and fuel control. airflow, fuel cell cooling, etc. Through their electronics division, they offer custom PCB assembly, electromechanical assembly, and box build contract manufacturing. More information on

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