Thales Cryogenics (TCBV) has an extensive background in developing and delivering long-life cryogenic coolers for military, civil and space programs. This cooler range is based on three main compressor concepts: rotary mono block compressors (RM), linear close tolerance contact seals (UP), and linear flexure bearing (LSF/LPT) compressors. The main differences – next to the different conceptual designs – between these products are their masses and Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) and the availability prediction of a single unit. New developments at Thales Cryogenics enabling compact long lifetime coolers – with an MTTF up to 50.000 hrs – will be outlined. In addition new developments for miniature cooler drive electronics with high temperature stability and power density will be described. These new cooler developments could be of particular interest for space missions where lower costs and mass are identified as important selection criteria. The developed compressors are originally connected to Stirling cold fingers that can directly be interfaced to different sizes of available dewars. Next to linear coolers, Thales Cryogenics has compact rotary coolers in its product portfolio. Though having a higher exported vibration level and a more limited MTTF of around 8.000 to 10.000 hours, their compactness and high efficiency could provide a good alternative for compact cooling of sensors in specific space missions. In this paper an overview of lifetime parameters will be listed versus the impact in the different cooler types. Tests results from both the installed base and the Thales Cryogenics test lab will be presented as well. Next to this differences in operational use for the different types of coolers as well as the outlook for further developments will be discussed.
A. Benschop, W. van de Groep, J. Mullié, D. Willems, O. Clesca, THALES Cryogenics BV, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
R. Griot, J-Y. Martin, THALES Cryogénie SAS, Blagnac, France.