Mainstream Engineering Awarded Contract from NASA for Toxicity Mitigating Single-Fluid Cooling System for Manned Spacecraft

ROCKLEDGE, FL — September 4, 2020 —Mainstream has developed a single-loop vapor compression thermal control system (VCTCS) to replace currently-used two-loop Thermal Control Systems (TCSs).

NASA uses two-loop TCSs to mitigate crew toxicity risk whereby one loop collects heat within a crew module with a low-toxicity fluid and transfers the heat to a second loop in the external module that rejects heat through the radiators.  This architecture is used for the crew but comes with a mass penalty due to the duplication of prime movers (pumps), the mass of the intermediate heat exchanger, and extra radiator surface area to account for the additional temperature difference required for the intermediate heat exchange process.

The two-loop mass penalty is a driving force toward reducing the TCS to a single working fluid. However, the toxicity risk must be mitigated for this architecture to be realized. Mainstream will be demonstrating a single loop TCS architecture that has toxicity mitigating technology. This technology has specific NASA applications, including future Orion-like manned missions, Deep Space Gateway and Transport missions, and lunar habitation modules. Any manned space vehicle would benefit from the expected weight and crew safety advantage offered by this new TCS.

About Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a 34-year-old Brevard County, Florida manufacturer with a history of leading-edge research and development that has resulted in advanced cost-competitive products, which are made in the USA.  Founded in 1986, Mainstream’s mission is to transition advanced R&D into high-quality, environmentally safe, green, commercial products using lean manufacturing techniques. Areas of research include thermal control, energy conversion, power electronics, biomass conversion, chemical technology, and materials science.