The goal of this effort was to demonstrate a low-lift heat pump thermal control system for heat rejection in space-based applications. As part of the effort, the detailed design and experimental optimization of an innovative magnetic-bearing centrifugal compressor (including impeller, diffuser, and shroud) was performed. A prototype heat pump thermal control system was designed and fabricated that contained prototypical cold plates and condensers. The prototype system was extensively tested to measure key performance parameters such as power consumption and cooling capacity. The experimental performance validated a prior trade study that compared the performance of a low-lift heat pump to a single-phase pumped loop. The low-lift heat pump experimental results demonstrated that the system has lower total mass than a single-phase pumped loop at the conditions compared. This makes an extremely compelling case for using the low-lift heat pump over a single-phase pumped loop for spacecraft thermal management systems.
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