Low-Alpha, Variable Emissivity Radiator (LAVER) Panels for Passive Thermal Regulaton of Spacecraft

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has received a Civilian Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program (CCRPP) award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to produce variable emissivity, low absorptivity radiator (LAVER) tiles to be applied to radiator panels for passive thermal regulation of spacecraft.

The tiles will allow satellites, particularly SmallSats and lunar craft such as VIPER, to passively regulate variable thermal loads, reducing the size, weight and complexity of their thermal control system. In a recently concluded program, PSI designed, developed and demonstrated functionality of 2” LAVER tiles, demonstrating 3.25:1 emissivity contrast and set point temperatures as low as 25°C. This program will build upon the successes of that program by adapting our manufacturing process to batch processing, improving the technical performance, repeatability and reliability of the fabrication process, while lowering the cost per tile. At the conclusion of this program, we anticipate reaching TRL 7 and MRL 5.

The LAVER tiles will provide near-term support to Class C and D missions, particularly SmallSats, where reduced size, weight and power budget of systems is paramount. LAVER tiles will also support precursor missions such as VIPER, as well as parts of the Artemis mission such as the Lunar Lander and Gateway. The LAVER directly addresses a need within NASA Taxonomy Heat Rejection and Storage, and satisfies the technology push for ultralightweight radiators. The LAVER tiles also have applications on the thermal regulation of commercial satellites and commercial space flight vehicles.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Joel Hensley
Vice President, Photonics
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003