The primary thermal management issue associated with Space Solar Power (SSP) is the need to acquire, transport and reject waste heat loads, on the order of 3.8 GW, from the transmitter to remote radiator locations. Previous conceptual studies have focused on transporting these loads to large remote radiators. These concepts assumed the ability to transport the heat either passively or mechanical over large transport distances of 100 meters or more.
A recent study, Innovative Deployable Radiators (IDR) for Space Solar Power, focused directly on the thermal control issues. This study has produced new concepts which break the system into small clusters of radiators which have more reasonable transport lengths of 1-2 meters. This study considers a system based on the klystron conversion technologies with a system architecture based on cluster radiators located near the waste heat source. The study evaluated various fluids for use between 50 and 500°C to determine their viability for use in LHPs. The evaluation considered fluid properties in addition to material compatibility with traditional LHP wick and containment materials.
The results of this study have provided new insight regarding the feasibility and limitations of LHPs for Space Solar Power applications. New technology development areas have been identified for both traditional LHPs and liquid metal LHPs.