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7 May 2019 Qualification of Northrop Grumman MicroCooler to TRL6
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Abstract
The Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS)`s MicroCooler is a split configuration pulse tube cooler incorporating a coaxial cold head connected via a transfer line to a vibrationally balanced back to back linear flexure bearing compressor. Designed for > 10 year operation with no degradation in performance, this 900 gram cryocooler incorporates a very efficient pulse tube cold head for operation over a range of temperatures above 40K. This paper presents the results of a series of tests designed to qualify the NGAS MicroCooler to the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. The MicroCooler was subjected to launch vibration and thermal cycling conditions appropriate to space applications. The measured load lines and unchanged refrigeration performance of the cooler throughout the qualification program demonstrated the robustness of the design. The performance of the MicroCooler was also characterized over a range of rejection temperatures and input powers to demonstrate its suitability for a wide range of missions and applications. The successful completion of series of tests has demonstrated that this very small, low vibration, high frequency cooler is qualified to be integrated into space payloads or an integrated detector cooler assembly (IDCA) for tactical applications, similar to those used with shorter lived tactical coolers.
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T. Nguyen, L. Amouzegar, M. Petach, L. Abelson, C. Carlson, and J. Russo "Qualification of Northrop Grumman MicroCooler to TRL6", Proc. SPIE 11002, Infrared Technology and Applications XLV, 1100204 (7 May 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2520748
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