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Proceedings Paper

Vibration suppression of advanced space cryocoolers: an overview
Author(s): Ronald G. Ross
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Paper Abstract

Mechanical cryocoolers represent a significant enabling technology for precision space instruments by providing cryogenic temperatures for sensitive infrared, gamma-ray, and x-ray detectors. However, the vibration generated by the cryocooler's refrigeration compressor has long been identified as a critical integration issue. The key sensitivity is the extent to which the cooler's vibration harmonics excite spacecraft resonances and prevent on-board sensors from achieving their operational goals with respect to resolution and pointing accuracy. To reduce the cryocooler's vibration signature to acceptable levels, a variety of active vibration suppression technologies have been developed and implemented over the past 15 years. At this point, nearly all space cryocoolers have active vibration suppression systems built into their drive electronics that reduce the peak unbalanced forces to less than 1% of their original levels. Typical systems of today individually control the vibration in each of the cryocoolers lowest drive harmonics, with some controlling as many as 16 harmonics. A second vibration issue associated with cryocoolers is surviving launch. Here the same pistons and coldfingers that generate vibration during operation are often the most critical elements in terms of surviving high input acceleration levels. Since electrical power is generally not available during launch, passive vibration suppression technologies have been developed. Common vibration damping techniques include electrodynamic braking via shorted motor coils and the use of particle dampers on sensitive cryogenic elements. This paper provides an overview of the vibration characteristics of typical linear-drive space cryocoolers, outlines their history of development, and presents typical performance of the various active and passive vibration suppression systems being used.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 July 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5052, Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Damping and Isolation, (31 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.497162
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald G. Ross, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5052:
Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Damping and Isolation
Gregory S. Agnes; Kon-Well Wang, Editor(s)

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