Thermal Control Products
Paragon is a world leader in designing and manufacturing thermal control and life support systems. We have delivered biological life support systems to NASA and flown successful missions on the MIR, Space Shuttle and International Space Station. We continue our heritage of innovation, partnering with NASA, the DoD and industry to create advanced technologies for the most extreme environments.
Paragon uses sophisticated thermal modeling techniques and software to solve problems such as predicting vehicle performance at Mars surface operating conditions, passive and active control of hypersonic vehicles and satellite systems, and cabin thermal control for human and cargo transport in sea and in space. Paragon’s “complete vehicle” approach produces elegant, integrated, lightweight, and highly operable thermal control solutions. Thermal control products and Solutions include:
Co-acting High Integrity Material Energetic Release Attenuation (CHIMERA)
Paragon has teamed with Thin Red Line Aerospace to design and develop a compact, weight optimized hybrid structure that makes maximum utilization of diverse materials in providing tailored strength, toughness and thermal and pressure containment for energy storage enclosures. CHIMERA will investigate an innovative, EMI-hardened energy enclosure design that provides shock, vibration, and environmental isolation while withstanding a cascade of energy storage component failures. CHIMERA) is a novel hybrid enclosure system based upon highly resilient expandable structures mated to a steel tubular cage. The CHIMERA structural design architecture is modular, analytically predictable and scalable over a wide range of applications. This design is a compact, weight optimized hybrid structure that makes maximum utilization of diverse materials in providing tailored strength, toughness and thermal and pressure containment for energy storage enclosures.
Phase-change Urgent Living Specimen Enclosure (PULSE)
Phase-change Urgent Living Specimen Enclosure (PULSE) is an Army SBIR which provides portable, passive thermal conditioning for whole blood units in the battle field. The technology builds upon existing vacuum insulated panel (VIP), vacuum dewar, phase change, and chemical heating and cooling technologies to provide a more robust transportation container with the potential for extended life and operability over existing systems. Paragon’s phase I effort will focus on development of three-dimensional vacuum insulated containers. The technology will address limited vacuum life in existing thermal containers and provide visual indication of compromised thermal integrity. Through these advancements, Paragon’s PULSE system will provide greater certainty to the DoD that critical medical supplies arrive as intended even in uncertain external environments.
Paragon has developed a radiator manufacturing process whereby the radiator fluid tube and facesheet are extruded as a single piece, unlike traditional radiators that require the tubes to be bonded to the facesheet. The tube-facesheet extrusions are then assembled using friction stir welding, an advanced manufacturing technique that generates a more contiguous weld compared to other methods. Using this method a radiator can be made into any size and almost any geometry. The extruded radiator offers better thermal performance and less weight at a much lower cost than current technologies. In contrast to other radiators currently on the market this technology provides greater design flexibility and allows for late configuration changes without major tooling costs.
Paragon Space Development Corporation was contracted by NASA Headquarters and NASA Johnson Space Center (through the SBIR program) to design, build, and test “Integral Radiators” as a next generation thermal control system for exploration vehicles. Paragon’s design integrated a vehicle’s structural and heat rejection subsystems into a dual-function subsystem, allowing for substantially reduced weight. In a typical space vehicle design, the thermal control system and spacecraft size/mass are diametrically opposed major drivers, due to restricted launch capability and anticipated higher power needs. Paragon’s Integral Radiators directly address this issue creating a new class of structures called “crescent radiators”.
The test article displayed here was used to achieve many goals in the research and design effort. The manufacturability of full-scale integral radiators using the crescent design was successfully demonstrated with four half panels. Different methods of attaching the fluid tubes to the special “crescent” geometry were tested. The method selected — a thermal epoxy — underwent several experimental investigations to verify its performance. Individual panel headers and fluid delivery/return headers were designed and built in-house. The final assembly, including the support frame, was also assembled at Paragon. The test article successfully performed as a functional radiator system in a thermal/vacuum test at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Extruded Radiator (xRad)
Paragon’s Extruded Radiator (Xrad) utilizes our patented manufacturing process whereby the radiator fluid tube and facesheet are extruded as a single piece, unlike traditional radiators that require the tubes to be bonded to the facesheet. The tube-facesheet extrusions are then assembled using friction stir welding, an advanced manufacturing technique that generates a more contiguous weld compared to other methods. Using this method a radiator can be made into any size and almost any geometry. The extruded radiator offers better thermal performance and less weight at a much lower cost than current technologies. In contrast to other radiators currently on the market this technology provides greater design flexibility and allows for late configuration changes without major tooling costs.
Paragon’s Variable Heat-load and External Environment Thermal control system (V-HEET) is unlike other typical thermal control systems for spacecraft that are highly customized. V-HEET is designed to be a flexible thermal control system that provides fully passive vehicle thermal control in the full range of low Earth orbit environments. Developed for the military’s Operationally Responsive Space market, the system is off the shelf ready, requires no electrical connections or fluid charging, accommodates the need for rapid integration and testing and is fully scalable. Finally the V-HEET technology allows for solar thermal collection systems requiring flow-through thermal fluids, low manufacturing costs and quick design-to-market time. CHIMERA is a novel hybrid enclosure system based upon highly resilient expandable structures mated to a steel tubular cage. The CHIMERA structural design architecture is modular, analytically predictable and scalable over a wide range of applications.
SuperCool Phase Change Heat Sink
SuperCool phase change heat sinks are being developed by Paragon for Portable Life Support Systems (PLSS) for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) spacesuits. SuperCool technology uses super-cooled ice to provide a non-toxic and non-flammable phase change material (PCM) heat sink that can be used for microgravity EVA’s as well as surface EVA’s on the Moon or Mars.
On-back weight for the astronaut is minimized by using water as the PCM is 70% more efficient, by weight, than other PCM’s. Further reduction in on-back weight is achieved by super cooling the ice for additional sensible heat storage capacity. No consumable is needed and therefore the large resupply mass required by sublimators and evaporators is eliminated. Additionally, since no water is vented, SuperCool can be used for Mars spacesuits without contaminating the environment. Unlike a radiator, SuperCool operates independent of the local thermal environment.
Simply freezing the water provides 92.5 Watt-hours of latent cooling capacity per kilogram of water. Super cooling the water to as low as -150ºC increases the total cooling capacity by over 70% to nearly 160 Watt-hours per kilogram of water.
While currently being developed for PLSS applications, SuperCool can also be adapted to provide a lower mass alternative to replace other PCM heat sinks on Altair, the Lunar Electric Rover Exploration Vehicles and Surface Habitats. Almost any flight vehicle or surface systems application that experiences cyclical heating and cooling can benefit from SuperCool Phase change technology. Properly integrated into vehicle and habitat structures, the SuperCool heat sink can also function as primary or secondary radiation shields for the crew. Representative SuperCool Phase I SBIR hardware and CAD model.
As part of NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, Paragon has designed, built, and tested a SuperCool demonstrator unit. The design incorporates patent-pending features to internally accommodate the expansion and contraction of the water as it freezes and thaws. Testing during the Phase I SBIR program demonstrated the robustness of the design with no damage occurring to the demonstrator unit during multiple super cool/warming/melting cycles.
Supercooling the ice to below -150 ºC increases cooling capacity by over 70% compared to just melting (latent heating).
Integrated Sublimator Driven Coldplate
The ISDC is a highly efficient cooling system. It combines the functions of a coldplate and a sublimator, while providing mass savings and increased reliability over a traditional pumped fluid loop Active Thermal Control System with separate coldplates and sublimators.ISDC consists of a flow-through Integrated Sublimator driven Coldplate which adds coolant layers to the previous SDC concept to further allow integration with a pumped fluid loop TCS. This renders an addition of coolant layers between the avionics box mounting surfaces and the feedwater layer, providing a single piece of hardware with the ability to operate in the following modes:
1. Standard Coldplate: Heat is transferred from the avionics boxes to the coolant via conduction and convection. The Coolant transports the thermal energy to the primary heat rejection device, such as a radiator. No feedwater is sent to the SDC in this mode.
2.Standard sublimater: Heat is transported to the SDC by the coolant, where it is transferred to the feedwater and rejected to space though sublimation
3. Sublimator driven colplate: Heat from the avionics boxes is conducted across the coolant layer and transferred to the feedwater, which rejects the heat to space through sublimation.
“CELSIUS” Launch Environment Tolerant Thermal And MMOD Protection
The Paragon and Thin Red Line developed the Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage (CELSIUS) system, providing windswept-tolerant, near-ideal, deterministic thermal and structural performance with integrated MMOD protection for long-loiter upper stage and cryogenic depot applications.
“STELA” Structural-Thermal Expandable Launch Adapter
Paragon Space Development Corporation and Thin Red Line Aerospace offer a unique solution that thermally isolates the upper stage rocket from a payload on orbit while providing adequate structural connection for orbital maneuvers. STELA aims to enable long-loiter upper stage and cryogenic depot applications.
Take a look at our Life Support Products.