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Proceedings Paper

Raytheon dual-use long life cryocooler
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Paper Abstract

Raytheon has manufactured closed-cycle cryocoolers for both tactical military and space applications for over thirty years. Tactical and space cryocooler technologies have historically been treated as distinct both at Raytheon and throughout the industry. Differing technical requirements, operating lifetimes, and order quantities have driven these types of coolers to dramatically different design approaches and cost levels. For example, a typical space cryocooler system today costs approximately $2M as compared to roughly $10,000 for a tactical cryocooler. However, stimuli from both the tactical and space cooler user communities are driving the markets together. Tactical cryocooler requirements are starting to push towards operating lifetime requirements more characteristic of the space coolers (e.g., 20,000+ hours). Space cryocooler users, in particular Missile Defense Agency, are pushing for substantial cost reduction. In response, Raytheon is developing a low cost space cryocooler with an intended dual-use capability to also serve the tactical marketplace. This cooler leverages proven flexure-suspension technology to achieve long life, and a low cost concentric pulse tube cold head design has been developed that can be packaged into the existing Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly, Type One (SADA-I). The cooler meets or exceeds the SADA-I operational requirements (capacity, efficiency, etc.) as well. For the space-version of the cooler, the electronics cost has been reduced by an estimated 80% versus current designs, largely by approaching the vibration cancellation requirement from a dramatically different perspective. Fabrication of the brassboard expander is nearly complete, and the prototype design is well underway. The design approach, development progress, and proposed applications are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 May 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5783, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI, (31 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.604766
Show Author Affiliations
Carl S. Kirkconnell, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (United States)
Bradley A. Ross, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5783:
Infrared Technology and Applications XXXI
Bjorn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop, Editor(s)

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