Thermal control is an important issue in small-scale satellite design, and thin film coatings suit the limited mass and volume constraints. Group IVB transition metal nitride films meet the criteria that the satellite surface must be mechanically and chemically stable, and electrically conducting. Thin film TixAlyNz coatings have been investigated and tailored for temperature control. The films were deposited by reactive sputtering on aluminum substrates in N2/Ar-atmosphere. The solar absorptance, (alpha) , and thermal emittance, (epsilon) , were calculated from spectral reflectance measurements. It was found that an optimization of film composition leads to a reduced equilibrium temperature. The composition temperature. The composition Ti0.16Al0.41N0.43 has a flatter reflectance curve than TiN, and was found to be close to optimal. By varying the film thickness, interference effects could further reduce the equilibrium temperature. A 650 nm Ti0.16Al0.41N0.43 film showed a reflectance interference minimum positioned at the maximum of the blackbody spectrum, resulting in an increased emittance. Neglecting internal heat contributions, the lowest calculated equilibrium temperature was 34.6 degrees C for this film.