Advanced Cooling Technologies Assisting in Lunar Rover Mission  - Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Advanced Cooling Technologies Assisting in Lunar Rover Mission 
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By BRYAN MUZYKA – A feature piece from our Fall-Winter 2023 issue of the Lancaster Thriving Publication!

Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., a leading engineering and manufacturing company based in Central Pennsylvania, is on a mission to be the best thermal management company in the world (and universe!).  

ACT recently announced the successful completion and delivery of the Thermal Management System (TMS) designed for NASA’s VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) mission. NASA’s VIPER is a critical mission in the Artemis program, responsible for navigating the south pole of the moon, and identifying and mapping regions where ice is present. Thanks to past missions, we know there is ice at the lunar poles, however, to one day use that water, NASA must study it closely. Ultimately, if we can harness the water in future missions, it opens endless possibilities for deep space exploration and sustainable life in space. NASA’s VIPER will venture into some of the coldest spots in the solar system during this pursuit, where it’s believed ice reserves have endured for billions of years. These permanently shadowed regions create a unique challenge for thermal management, which is ultimately to reject heat in normal operating mode but to also ensure that the electronics system does not experience failure from the extreme cold.  

ACT’s team embarked on the ambitious journey to help NASA’s VIPER “Survive Lunar Night”, which includes a fourteen (14) day dark period. Through intensive engineering efforts and qualification regimens, ACT completed the design, hardware manufacturing and testing and has shipped this one-of-a-kind thermal management system to NASA Johnson Space Center for final integration. One key component was creating a “warm box”, which houses critical electronics to aid VIPER’s functionality. By utilizing Loop Heat Pipes, with passive thermal control valves, ACT was able to thermally link and reject heat through the radiator panels located at the top of the rover as needed. During lunar night, when temperature severely drops, the passive control valves block the thermal link to the radiators, allowing the warm box to remain at temperatures above the electronics’ failure points.   

Throughout the development process, ACT maintained a close and collaborative working relationship with NASA engineers. This partnership was instrumental in ensuring that the Thermal Management System met NASA’s stringent requirements and specifications. Both teams worked tirelessly to ensure the TMS delivery schedule remained on track, as delays could lead to the entire VIPER mission delaying a year due to launch windows. ACT’s commitment to excellence and dedication to delivering reliable hardware further solidify its reputation as a trusted partner in the space exploration community. 

NASA’s VIPER mission will be the first rover or space vehicle to ever map out where and how humans could possibly extract water in the future. This mission is made possible through many engineering accomplishments including this state-of-the-art thermal management system, delivered by Advanced Cooling Technologies.    

Learn more about the mission: 

Learn more about ACT’s thermal management technologies for space: 

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