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Proceedings Paper

Low vibration microminiature split Stirling cryogenic cooler for infrared aerospace applications
Author(s): A. Veprik; S. Zechtzer; N. Pundak; C. Kirkconnel; J. Freeman; S. Riabzev
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Paper Abstract

The operation of the thermo-mechanical unit of a cryogenic cooler may originate a resonant excitation of the spacecraft frame, optical bench or components of the optical train. This may result in degraded functionality of the inherently vibration sensitive space-borne infrared imager directly associated with the cooler or neighboring instrumentation typically requiring a quiet micro-g environment. The best practice for controlling cooler induced vibration relies on the principle of active momentum cancellation. In particular, the pressure wave generator typically contains two oppositely actuated piston compressors, while the single piston expander is counterbalanced by an auxiliary active counter-balancer. Active vibration cancellation is supervised by a dedicated DSP feed-forward controller, where the error signals are delivered by the vibration sensors (accelerometers or load cells). This can result in oversized, overweight and overpriced cryogenic coolers with degraded electromechanical performance and impaired reliability. The authors are advocating a reliable, compact, cost and power saving approach capitalizing on the combined application of a passive tuned dynamic absorber and a low frequency vibration isolator. This concept appears to be especially suitable for low budget missions involving mini and micro satellites, where price, size, weight and power consumption are of concern. The authors reveal the results of theoretical study and experimentation on the attainable performance using a fullscale technology demonstrator relying on a Ricor model K527 tactical split Stirling cryogenic cooler. The theoretical predictions are in fair agreement with the experimental data. From experimentation, the residual vibration export is quite suitable for demanding wide range of aerospace applications. The authors give practical recommendations on heatsinking and further maximizing performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8012, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVII, 80122J (20 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.886360
Show Author Affiliations
A. Veprik, RICOR-Cryogenic & Vacuum Systems (Israel)
S. Zechtzer, RICOR-Cryogenic & Vacuum Systems (Israel)
N. Pundak, RICOR-Cryogenic & Vacuum Systems (Israel)
C. Kirkconnel, Iris Technology Corp. (United States)
J. Freeman, Iris Technology Corp. (United States)
S. Riabzev, EADS Astrium Ltd. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8012:
Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVII
Bjørn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop; Paul R. Norton, Editor(s)

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