ACT to embed thermal management in Carbon Mapper structures

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SAN FRANCISCO – Advanced Cooling Technologies, a thermal management specialist, announced a contract with Planet to design and build structures for the first two Carbon Mapper methane-monitoring satellites.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based ACT manufacturers ammonia-based heat pipes for a variety of space programs including NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) lunar rover.

Compared to those missions, heat management for the Carbon Mapper constellation is relatively straightforward, Kim Mankosa, ACT sales engineer, told SpaceNews.

What’s unique about ACT’s role in Carbon Mapper is the structural component. ACT will design and produce the thermal architecture for the first two satellites scheduled to launch in 2023.

“We have a little more scope than we typically do,” said Bryan Muzyka, ACT sales and marketing manager. “Because it’s a small spacecraft and the thermal is one of the major bottlenecks in performance, they wanted to have a thermal solutions provider as the lead for those areas. We are not only transferring the heat, but we’re also embedding that capability into radiator panels.”

A consortium led by the State of California, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Planet announced plans in April 2021 to launch a constellation of Carbon Mapper satellites equipped with hyperspectral sensors to detect, quantify and track sources of methane and carbon dioxide. Additional partners include the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the High Tide Foundation and the non-profit RMI.

“While we’re proud of all our work in the space industry, the Carbon Mapper program provides not only an exciting scope of work, but also allows our team to be part of a truly rewarding program,” Ryan Spangler, ACT Orbital and Space Systems Group engineering manager, said in a statement.

Carbon Mapper, Inc., is a non-profit organization focused on digital tools to mitigate the human impact on Earth’s climate and ecosystems.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled the name of Kim Mankosa, ACT sales engineer.