Checking date: 09/06/2021

Course: 2021/2022

Thermal Subsystem
Study: Master in Space Engineering (360)

Coordinating teacher: ACOSTA IBORRA, ANTONIO

Department assigned to the subject: Department of Thermal and Fluids Engineering

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 2.0 ECTS


Requirements (Subjects that are assumed to be known)
Space Environment. Complements to Aerospace Engineering (if the student does not have previous knowledge on basic thermal engineering, including heat transfer).
1) Competences and skills that will be acquired in the subject. a) Basic competences: CB6 To possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and / or application of ideas, often in a research context CB7 Students must know how to apply the knowledge acquired and their ability to solve problems in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their area of study CB8 Students must be able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments based on information that, being incomplete or limited, includes reflections on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments CB9 Students must know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and ultimate reasons that sustain them to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unambiguous way CB10 Students must have the learning skills allowing them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. b) General competences: CG1 Capacity for the formulation, critical verification and defense of hypotheses, as well as the design of experimental tests for verification. CG2 Ability to make value judgments and prioritize in making conflicting decisions using systemic thinking. CG4 Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams in a cooperative way to complete work tasks CG5 Ability to handle the English, technical and colloquial language. c) Specific competences: CE3 Ability to develop a complete system that meets the design specifications and the expectations of the interested parties. This includes the production of products; acquire, reuse or code products; integrate products in top-level assemblies; verify products against design specifications; validate the products against the expectations of the interested parties; and the transition of products to the next level of the system. CE8 Ability to understand and apply the knowledge, methods and tools of space engineering to the analysis and design of the thermal subsystem of space vehicles. 2) Learning results. a) General and specific learning outcomes: After studying this subject, students will have knowledge about the vehicle, the environment and the different physical models needed to design a space platform. Specifically, the learning outcomes of the subject are those that appear below: b) Transversal learning outcomes The transversal learning outcomes (and evaluable in one or more subjects of the Spacecraft and Dynamics knowledge field, which contains the present subject) are related to the following sections of the CDIO curriculum: - Section 2.1, analytical reasoning, and problem-oriented (for example, modeling or analysis with uncertainty). - Section 2.2, experimentation, research and discovery of knowledge (for example, formulation of hypothesis or experimental inquiry). - Section 2.4, personal skills and attitudes (for example, initiative and willingness to take risks or creative thinking).
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Introduction: 1.1. Thermal Control in space systems. 1.2. Classification of thermal control subsystems. 2. Spacecraft thermal Loads: 2.1. Spacecraft thermal environment. 2.2. Heat sources. 2.3. Thermal balance. 2.4. Practical examples and problems. 3. Thermal modelling: 3.1. Heat transfer modes in space systems. 3.2. Modelling of heat conduction exchange. 3.3. Modelling of heat convection exchange. 3.4. Modelling of radiative heat exchange. 3.5. Combined heat exchange. 3.6. Thermal analysis codes. 3.7. Practical examples and problems. 4. Thermal Subsystem Design: 4.1. Thermal requirements and constraints. 4.1. Passive thermal control. Surface finishes, insulation systems, radiators, conduction paths, heat pipes and two-phase systems, phase change materials and ablative systems. 4.2. Active thermal control. Heaters, louvers and shutters, refrigeration cycles, thermoelectric coolers, VCPHs and diodes, pumped liquid and two-phase loops, cryogenic systems and other thermal control systems. 4.3. Case study examples. 5. Thermal Subsystem Testing: 5.1. Thermal verification of models and hardware. 5.2. Thermal balance and thermal vacuum tests. 5.3. Case study examples. 6. Thermal control normative: 6.1. Aim and scope of thermal control normative. 6.2. The ECSS standards.
Learning activities and methodology
1) Learning activities followed in the course: Theoretical class: lectures about each topic of the course. Practical classes: solution of excercises and case study examples. Practices in computer classroom: simulation laboratory. Evaluacion activities: final exam, laboratory reports and assignments. These learning activities imply group work and individual student work. 2) Teaching methodologies that are used in the subject: Lectures delivered by the course instructor with support of computer and audiovisual media, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. Solution, either individually or in group, of problems, case study, etcetera, raised by the instructor.   Preparation, either individually or in group, of projects and reports. 3) Tutoring sessions and communication with the students: Students can request a tutoring session with the instructor within the office hours announced on the web page of the course (Aula Global, Communication with the students (notices, materials of the course, etcetera) will be mainly done through Aula Global.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 50
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 50
Calendar of Continuous assessment
Basic Bibliography
  • European Cooperation for Space Standarization. ECSS-E-ST-31C, Thermal Control. ESA. 2008
  • F.P. Incropera, D.P. DeWitt, T.L. Bergman, A.S. Lavine. Introduction to heat transfer (5th Edition). Wiley. 2006
  • M.J. Moran, H.N. Shapiro. Principles of Engineering Thermodynamics (7th Edition). John Wiley & Sons. 2012
  • P. W. Fortescue, G. Swinerd, J. Stark. Spacecraft Systems Engineering (4th Edition). Wiley. 2011
Additional Bibliography
  • D.G. Gilmore (Editor). Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook. Volume I: Fundamental Technologies (2nd Edition). AIAA. 2002
  • J. Meseguer, I. Pérez-Grande, A. Sanz-Andrés. Spacecraft thermal control. Woodhead Publishing. 2012
  • M. Donabedian (Editor). Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook. Volume II: Cryogenics. AIAA. 2003
  • W.J. Larson, A.V. Wertz. Space Mission Analysis and Design (3rd Edition). Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1999

The course syllabus and the academic weekly planning may change due academic events or other reasons.