Cryogenic coolers are often used in modern spacecraft in conjunction with sensitive electronics and sensors of military,
commercial and scientific instrumentation. The typical space requirements are: power efficiency, low vibration export,
proven reliability, ability to survive launch vibration/shock and long-term exposure to space radiation.
A long-standing paradigm of exclusively using "space heritage" equipment has become the standard practice for
delivering high reliability components. Unfortunately, this conservative "space heritage" practice can result in using
outdated, oversized, overweight and overpriced cryogenic coolers and is becoming increasingly unacceptable for space
agencies now operating within tough monetary and time constraints.
The recent trend in developing mini and micro satellites for relatively inexpensive missions has prompted attempts to
adapt leading-edge tactical cryogenic coolers for suitability in the space environment. The primary emphasis has been
on reducing cost, weight and size. The authors are disclosing theoretical and practical aspects of a collaborative effort to
develop a space qualified cryogenic refrigerator system based on the tactical cooler model Ricor K527 and the Iris
Technology radiation hardened Low Cost Cryocooler Electronics (LCCE). The K27/LCCE solution is ideal for
applications where cost, size, weight, power consumption, vibration export, reliability and time to spacecraft integration
are of concern.