(19)
(11)EP 3 106 393 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 16174573.2

(22)Date of filing:  15.06.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B64G 1/50  (2006.01)
F28D 15/02  (2006.01)

(54)

VARIABLE HEAT REJECTION USING HEAT PIPE HEAT EXCHANGER

VARIABLE WÄRMEABFÜHRUNG MIT WÄRMEROHRWÄRMETAUSCHER

REJET DE CHALEUR VARIABLE UTILISANT UN CALODUC ÉCHANGEUR DE CHALEUR


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 15.06.2015 US 201514739364

(43)Date of publication of application:
21.12.2016 Bulletin 2016/51

(73)Proprietor: Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation
Charlotte, NC 28217 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • CHO, Wei-Lin
    Unionville, CT Connecticut 06085 (US)
  • ADAMSON, Gary A.
    North Granby, CT Connecticut 06060 (US)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- H06 109 382
US-A- 5 036 905
US-A- 4 420 035
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Spacecraft, such as space shuttles, space stations, and satellites have internal environments (e.g., cabins or heat generating components) that are cooled by a coolant loop. The coolant loop circulates a flow of coolant which absorbs heat from the internal environment of the spacecraft. The coolant may absorb heat from the cabin itself, or from other components (such as mechanical or electronic components) associated with the spacecraft. The heat absorbed by the coolant is then rejected to an external environment using a heat sink.

    [0002] In space applications, the heat sink is known to be provided by a radiator that is located at least partially external to the spacecraft. The effective cold sink provided by outer space varies quite widely depending on spacecraft orientation. This will provide an effective heat sink. As the coolant within the coolant loop flows within the radiator, the heat within the coolant is rejected to outer space. Downstream of the radiator, the coolant is recirculated back to the coolant loop.

    [0003] The heat rejection capacity of the radiator is fixed by the size of the radiator, the optical property of the radiator surface, and the effective temperature of the radiator surface. The radiator is typically sized to handle an expected upper limit operating temperature and heat load (e.g., a "worst case" operating condition) of the spacecraft. Some other types of radiators allow for variable heat rejection using variable emissivity surface coatings or mechanical louvers.

    [0004] JP H 06109382 relates to a two-phase fluid loop exhaust heat device. US 5,036,905 relates to systems for radiating heat from a spacecraft.

    SUMMARY



    [0005] The system according to the invention includes a control unit and a heat pipe heat exchanger having a first heat pipe and a second heat pipe. The system also includes a first flow regulator selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit to direct a first flow of fluid over a portion of the first heat pipe. Further, the system includes a second flow regulator selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit to direct a second flow of fluid over a portion of the second heat pipe. A method is also disclosed and claimed.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0006] The drawings can be briefly described as follows:

    Figure 1 schematically illustrates a first example system according to this disclosure.

    Figure 2 schematically illustrates a second example system according to this disclosure.

    Figure 3 schematically illustrates a third example system according to this disclosure.

    Figure 4 schematically illustrates a fourth example system according to this disclosure.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0007] Figure 1 schematically illustrates a first example system 20 according to this disclosure. The system 20 allows for heat rejection between an internal environment, which in this example includes the interior of a spacecraft 22, and an external environment 24, which in this example is outer space.

    [0008] The system 20 includes a coolant loop 26 configured to circulate a flow of cooling fluid (referred to herein as "coolant" or "fluid") within the spacecraft 22. The coolant within the coolant loop 26 could be any known type of coolant. This disclosure is not limited to any particular coolant type.

    [0009] The coolant loop 26 may be arranged to cool the occupant space (e.g., the cabin) and/or may be used to cool other components associated with the spacecraft 22. As coolant circulates within the coolant loop 26, the coolant absorbs heat. The coolant loop 26 is configured to direct the coolant to a heat sink, which in this example is provided by a heat pipe heat exchanger 28 at least partially located in the external environment 24.

    [0010] In the example of Figure 1, the coolant loop 26 is fluidly coupled to first and second heat exchangers 30, 32 via first and second inlet lines 34, 36. In this example, the first and second inlet lines 34, 36 are arranged in parallel to one another. The first and second inlet lines 34, 36 are fluidly coupled to an inlet 38, 40 of a respective one of the first and second heat exchangers 30, 32 via an adjustable flow regulator 42, 44. The adjustable flow regulators 42, 44 may be provided by any known type of valve. For instance, the adjustable flow regulators 42, 44 may be shut-off valves or infinitely adjustable valves, including electro-mechanical valves. Further, there may be recirculation lines 43, 45 between the respective adjustable flow regulators 42, 44 and the coolant loop 26. The adjustable flow regulators 42, 44 are configured to direct a selected amount of fluid to the heat exchangers 30, 32 to provide variable heat rejection. The remainder of the flow of fluid is directed back to the coolant loop 26 via the recirculation lines 43, 45.

    [0011] The adjustable flow regulators 42, 44 are selectively adjustable in response to instructions from a control unit 46. The control unit 46 may be any known type of control unit including memory, hardware, and software. The control unit 46 is configured to store instructions and to provide instructions to the various components of the system 20, including the adjustable flow regulators 42, 44.

    [0012] The control unit 46 is electrically coupled to at least one internal conditions sensor 48 located within the spacecraft 22. The internal conditions sensor 48 may be a temperature sensor configured to generate signals indicative of the temperature within the spacecraft 22. The control unit 46 is further electrically coupled to at least one external conditions sensor 50, which is located external to the spacecraft 22. Like the sensor 48, the external conditions sensor 50 may also be a temperature sensor configured to generate a signal indicative of the temperature outside the spacecraft 22.

    [0013] Again, in this example, the external environment 24 is outer space. The effective cold sink temperatures provided by outer space can vary widely. The heat pipe heat exchanger 28 is configured to reject heat absorbed by the coolant within the coolant loop 26 to the external environment 24.

    [0014] In this example, the heat pipe heat exchanger 28 includes a first plurality of heat pipes 52A-52D, each of which has a first portion 54 within the external environment 24 and a second portion 56 within the first heat exchanger 30. In this example, the heat pipe heat exchanger 28 further includes a second plurality of heat pipes 58A-58D, each having a first portion 60 within the external environment 24 and a second portion 62 within the second heat exchanger 32.

    [0015] Each of the heat pipes 52A-52D, 58A-58D contains a heat pipe working fluid, such as ammonia. The heat pipes 52A-52D, 58A-58D are fluidly isolated from the external environment 24 and the heat exchangers 30, 32. In other words, there is no intermixing between the fluid within the heat exchangers and the fluid within the heat pipes. The heat pipes 52A-58A maybe any known type of heat pipe, and may include concentric sections configured to direct the relatively warm heat pipe working fluid toward the heat pipe heat exchanger 28 and the relatively cool heat pipe working fluid toward a respective one of the heat exchangers 30, 32.

    [0016] The control unit 46 is configured to selectively adjust the first and second flow regulators 42, 44 to direct flows of coolant F1, F2 from the coolant loop 26 to the first and second heat exchangers 30, 32. Heat from the flows of coolant F1, F2 is rejected to the heat pipes 52A-52D, 58A-58D by convection and conduction as the flows of coolant F1, F2 pass over the portions 56, 62 of the heat pipes 52A-52D, 58A-58D within the respective heat exchanger 30, 32. Downstream of the first and second heat exchangers 30, 32, the flows of coolant F1, F2 are directed, in parallel, back to the coolant loop 26 by way of first and second return lines 64, 66 via respective outlets 68, 70 of the heat exchangers 30, 32.

    [0017] The control unit 46 is configured to make appropriate adjustments to the first and second flow regulators 42, 44 in response to the signals received from the sensors 48, 50. For example, in some cases the coolant within the coolant loop 26 requires relatively little cooling (as determined by the control unit 46 in response to the signals from the sensors 48, 50). In those instances, the control unit 46 may instruct the first flow regulator 42 to open, while instructing the second flow regulator 44 to be closed. If additional cooling is required, both flow regulators 42, 44 can be opened.

    [0018] In Figure 1, the coolant loop 26 is arranged to direct parallel flows of coolant to and from the first and second heat exchangers 30, 32. However, in another example system 120, the heat exchangers 130, 132 may be arranged in series. To the extent not otherwise described or shown, the system 120 of Figure 2 corresponds to the system 20 of Figure 1, with like parts having reference numerals preappended with a "1."

    [0019] In the system 120, as the first flow of coolant F1 enters the first heat exchanger 130 at the inlet 138, the flow of coolant F1 is exposed to the first plurality of heat pipes 152A-152D. Downstream of the outlet 168, a selectively adjustable flow regulator 172 is configured to either direct the first flow of coolant F1 back to the coolant loop 126 via a return line 174, or to an inlet 176 of the second heat exchanger 132, where, for purposes of this disclosure, the flow will be referred to as a "second" flow of coolant F2, although though the actual fluid providing the flow of coolant is the same.

    [0020] When additional cooling is required, the flow regulator 172 is adjusted by the control unit 146 to direct the first flow of coolant F1 to the second heat exchanger 132. Within the second heat exchanger 132, the second flow of coolant F2 is then further cooled by exposure to the second plurality of heat pipes 158A-158D before it is expelled from the outlet 178 of the second heat exchanger 132 and returned to the coolant loop 126 via a return line 180. The adjustable flow regulator 172 may be a known type of three-way valve, including an electro-mechanical three-way valve.

    [0021] While the systems 20, 120 are configured to direct flow to a select group of heat pipes to provide variable heat rejection, the system 220 illustrated in Figure 3 is capable of further customizing the level of heat rejection. To the extent not otherwise described or shown, the system 220 corresponds to the system 20 of Figure 1, with like parts having reference numerals preappended with a "2."

    [0022] In the system 220, the first and second heat exchangers 230, 232 include flow regulators between each individual heat pipe 252A-D, 258A-D. The flow regulators in the first heat exchanger 230, are illustrated schematically at 282, 284, 286. In the second heat exchanger 232, the flow regulators are illustrated at 288, 290, 292. The control unit 246 is electrically coupled to each of the flow regulators 282, 284, 286, 288, 290, 292. Further, as in the system 20, the control unit 246 is coupled to first and second flow regulators 242, 244. While the system 220 includes the parallel inlet and return lines 234, 236, 264, 266 (like in the system 20), it should be understood that the valve arrangement within the heat exchangers 230, 232 could be incorporated into the serial arrangement of the system 120.

    [0023] It should be understood that each of the flow regulators 282, 284, 286, 288, 290, 292 may be a known type of three-way valve, including electromechanical valves. Each of the flow regulators may be selectively adjustable to either route flow downstream, to the next, downstream heat pipe, or back to a return line 264, 266. For example, where a relatively low level of cooling is required, the control unit 246 is configured to open the first flow regulator 242 and adjust the position of the flow regulator 282 such that it directs coolant to the return line 264 via an outlet line 294. When more cooling is required, the control unit 246 adjusts the flow regulator 282 to direct flow downstream, to additional heat pipes, as needed, to increase heat rejection.

    [0024] Still another example system 320 is illustrated in Figure 4. To the extent not otherwise described or shown, the system 320 corresponds to the systems 20, 120, 220 of Figures 1-3, with like parts having reference numerals preappended with a "3."

    [0025] Whereas the Figure 3 example includes flow regulators 282, 284, 286, 288, 290, 292 configured to direct fluid over adjacent heat pipes in series, the Figure 4 example directs fluid over the heat pipes in parallel. In particular, in Figure 4, the heat exchangers 330, 332 each include four separate heat exchanger portions 330A-330D, 332A-332D. The heat pipes 352A-352D, 358A-358D project from the heat pipe heat exchanger 328 into a respective heat exchanger portion 330A-330D, 332A-332D. Selectively adjustable flow regulators 382, 384, 386, 387, 388, 390, 392, 393 are provided in parallel with one another, and between a respective flow regulator 342, 344 and one of the heat exchanger portions 330A-330D, 332A-332D. The control unit 346 provides instructions to selectively open the various adjustable flow regulators 384, 386, 387, 388, 390, 392, 393 to provide a desired level of cooling.

    [0026] This disclosure provides a selectively adjustable level of heat rejection, which is particularly useful in space applications as internal and external conditions may vary widely. This disclosure further provides a relatively constant internal temperature, which is comfortable for occupants and generally more efficient than a typical, one-size-fits-all type of radiator.

    [0027] One of ordinary skill in this art would understand that the above-described embodiments are exemplary and non-limiting. That is, modifications of this disclosure would come within the scope of the claims. Accordingly, the following claims should be studied to determine their true scope and content.


    Claims

    1. A system (20), comprising:

    a control unit (46);

    a heat pipe heat exchanger (28) having a first heat pipe and a second heat pipe;

    a first flow regulator (42) selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit to direct a first flow of fluid to the heat exchanger, and a second flow regulator (44) selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit to direct a second flow of fluid to the heat exchanger; and characterized in that

    the first flow regulator (42) is selectively adjustable in response to said instructions from the control unit (46) to direct the first flow of fluid (F1) over a portion of the first heat pipe; and wherein

    the second flow regulator (44) is selectively adjustable in response to said instructions from the control unit (46) to direct the second flow of fluid (F2) over a portion of the second heat pipe.


     
    2. The system (20) as recited in claim 1, wherein:

    the first heat pipe is one of a first plurality of heat pipes (152A-152D);

    each of the first plurality of heat pipes (152A-152D) at least partially projects into a first heat exchanger (30); and

    the first flow regulator (42) is selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit (46) to direct the first flow of fluid (F1) into the first heat exchanger (130) and over the first plurality of heat pipes (152A-152D).


     
    3. The system (20) as recited in claim 2, wherein:

    the second heat pipe is one of a second plurality of heat pipes (158A-158D);

    each of the second plurality of heat pipes (158A-158D) at least partially projects into a second heat exchanger (32); and

    the second flow regulator (44) is selectively adjustable in response to instructions from the control unit (46) to direct the second flow of fluid (F2) into the second heat exchanger (32) and over the second plurality of heat pipes (158A-158D).


     
    4. The system as recited in claim 3, wherein the first and second heat exchangers (30, 32) are arranged in parallel to one another.
     
    5. The system as recited in claim 3, wherein the first and second heat exchangers (30, 32) are arranged in series such that the fluid providing the first flow of fluid is directed to the second heat exchanger (32) to provide the second flow of fluid (F2).
     
    6. The system as recited in any preceding claim, wherein the heat pipe heat exchanger (28) includes a plurality of heat pipes and an adjustable flow regulator between each heat pipe.
     
    7. The system as recited in any preceding claim, wherein the heat pipe heat exchanger (28) includes a plurality of heat pipes and an adjustable flow regulator associated with each heat pipe, the adjustable flow regulators arranged in parallel with one another.
     
    8. The system as recited in any preceding claim, wherein the heat pipe heat exchanger (28) is arranged to expose each of the first and second heat pipes to an external environment.
     
    9. A spacecraft comprising the system as recited in claim 8, wherein the system (20) is embodied on the spacecraft and the external environment is outer space.
     
    10. The spacecraft as recited in claim 9, wherein the system (20) is configured such that, after interaction with the first and second heat pipes, the first flow of fluid (F1) and the second flow of fluid (F2) cool a cabin of the spacecraft.
     
    11. The spacecraft as recited in claim 9, wherein:

    the control unit (46) is electrically coupled to at least one sensor (48) configured to generate a signal indicative of conditions within the spacecraft; and

    the control unit (46) is configured to selectively adjust the first and second flow regulators (42, 44) based on the conditions within the spacecraft.


     
    12. The spacecraft as recited in claim 9, wherein:

    the control unit (46) is electrically coupled to at least one sensor (48) configured to generate a signal indicative of the conditions external to the spacecraft; and

    the control unit (42, 44) is configured to selectively adjust the first and second flow regulators based on the conditions outside the spacecraft.


     
    13. A method, characterized by comprising:

    establishing a first flow of fluid (F1) over a portion of a first heat pipe of a heat pipe heat exchanger (28); and

    establishing a second flow of fluid (F2) over a portion of a second heat pipe of the heat pipe heat exchanger (28);

    wherein a flow regulator is provided between the first and second heat pipes, and wherein the flow regulator is adjustable to selectively direct fluid downstream of the first heat pipe to the second heat pipe.


     
    14. The method as recited in claim 13, wherein the first flow of fluid (F1) is arranged in parallel to the second flow of fluid (F2), or wherein the first flow of fluid (F1) is arranged in series with the second flow of fluid (F2), such that the fluid providing the first flow of fluid (F1) also provides the second flow of fluid (F2).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. System (20), umfassend:

    ein Steuergerät (46);

    einen Wärmerohrwärmetauscher (28), der ein erstes Wärmerohr und ein zweites Wärmerohr aufweist;

    einen ersten Stromregler (42), der als Reaktion auf Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er einen ersten Fluidstrom zu dem Wärmetauscher leitet, und einen zweiten Stromregler (44), der als Reaktion auf Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er einen zweiten Fluidstrom zu dem Wärmetauscher leitet; und

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Stromregler (42) als Reaktion auf die Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät (46) selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er den ersten Fluidstrom (F1) über einen Abschnitt des ersten Wärmerohrs leitet; und wobei der zweite Stromregler (44) als Reaktion auf die Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät (46) selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er den zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) über einen Abschnitt des zweiten Wärmerohrs leitet.


     
    2. System (20) nach Anspruch 1, wobei:

    das erste Wärmerohr eines aus einer ersten Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (152A-152D) ist;

    jedes aus der ersten Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (152A-152D) mindestens teilweise in einen ersten Wärmetauscher (30) vorsteht; und

    der erste Stromregler (42) als Reaktion auf Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät (46) selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er den ersten Fluidstrom (F1) in den ersten Wärmetauscher (130) und über die erste Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (152A-152D) leitet.


     
    3. System (20) nach Anspruch 2, wobei:

    das zweite Wärmerohr eines aus einer zweiten Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (158A-158D) ist;

    jedes aus der zweiten Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (158A-158D) mindestens teilweise in einen zweiten Wärmetauscher (32) vorsteht; und

    der zweite Stromregler (44) als Reaktion auf Anweisungen von dem Steuergerät (46) selektiv so eingestellt werden kann, dass er den zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) in den zweiten Wärmetauscher (32) und über die zweite Vielzahl von Wärmerohren (158A-158D) leitet.


     
    4. System nach Anspruch 3, wobei der erste und der zweite Wärmetauscher (30, 32) parallel zueinander angeordnet sind.
     
    5. System nach Anspruch 3, wobei der erste und der zweite Wärmetauscher (30, 32) derart in Reihe angeordnet sind, dass das Fluid, das den ersten Fluidstrom bereitstellt, zum zweiten Wärmetauscher (32) geleitet wird, um den zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) bereitzustellen.
     
    6. System nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Wärmerohrwärmetauscher (28) eine Vielzahl von Wärmerohren und einen einstellbaren Stromregler zwischen jedem Wärmerohr beinhaltet.
     
    7. System nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Wärmerohrwärmetauscher (28) eine Vielzahl von Wärmerohren und einen einstellbaren Stromregler in Verbindung mit jedem Wärmerohr beinhaltet, wobei die einstellbaren Stromregler parallel zueinander angeordnet sind.
     
    8. System nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Wärmerohrwärmetauscher (28) so angeordnet ist, dass jedes aus dem ersten und dem zweiten Wärmerohr einer äußeren Umgebung ausgesetzt ist.
     
    9. Raumflugkörper, umfassend das System nach Anspruch 8, wobei das System (20) an dem Raumflugkörper ausgebildet ist und die äußere Umgebung der Weltraum ist.
     
    10. Raumflugkörper nach Anspruch 9, wobei das System (20) derart konfiguriert ist, dass nach der Wechselwirkung mit dem ersten und dem zweiten Wärmerohr der erste Fluidstrom (F1) und der zweite Fluidstrom (F2) eine Kabine des Raumflugkörpers kühlen.
     
    11. Raumflugkörper nach Anspruch 9, wobei:

    das Steuergerät (46) elektrisch an mindestens einen Sensor (48) gekoppelt ist, der dazu konfiguriert ist, ein Signal zu erzeugen, das Bedingungen innerhalb des Raumflugkörpers angibt; und

    das Steuergerät (46) dazu konfiguriert ist, dass es den ersten und den zweiten Stromregler (42, 44) basierend auf den Bedingungen innerhalb des Raumflugkörpers selektiv einstellt.


     
    12. Raumflugkörper nach Anspruch 9, wobei:

    das Steuergerät (46) elektrisch an mindestens einen Sensor (48) gekoppelt ist, der dazu konfiguriert ist, ein Signal zu erzeugen, das die Bedingungen außerhalb des Raumflugzeugs angibt; und

    das Steuergerät (42, 44) dazu konfiguriert ist, den ersten und den zweiten Stromregler basierend auf den Bedingungen außerhalb des Raumflugkörpers selektiv einzustellen.


     
    13. Verfahren, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es Folgendes umfasst:

    Herstellen eines ersten Fluidstroms (F1) über einen Abschnitt eines ersten Wärmerohrs eines Wärmerohrwärmetauschers (28); und

    Herstellen eines zweiten Fluidstroms (F2) über einen Abschnitt eines zweiten Wärmerohrs des Wärmerohrwärmetauschers (28);

    wobei ein Stromregler zwischen dem ersten und dem zweiten Wärmerohr bereitgestellt ist und wobei der Stromregler so eingestellt werden kann, dass er Fluid stromabwärts des ersten Wärmerohrs selektiv zum zweiten Wärmerohr leitet.


     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13, wobei der erste Fluidstrom (F1) parallel zum zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) angeordnet ist oder wobei der erste Fluidstrom (F1) in Reihe mit dem zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) angeordnet ist, so dass das Fluid, das den ersten Fluidstrom (F1) bereitstellt, auch den zweiten Fluidstrom (F2) bereitstellt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système (20), comprenant :

    une unité de commande (46),

    un caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) ayant un premier caloduc et un second caloduc ;

    un premier régulateur de débit (42) réglable de manière sélective en réponse aux instructions de l'unité de commande pour diriger un premier flux de fluide vers l'échangeur de chaleur, et un second régulateur de débit (44) réglable de manière sélective en réponse aux instructions de l'unité de commande pour diriger un second flux de fluide vers l'échangeur de chaleur ; et caractérisé en ce que

    le premier régulateur de débit (42) est réglable de manière sélective en réponse auxdites instructions de l'unité de commande (46) pour diriger le premier flux de fluide (F1) via une partie du premier caloduc ; et dans lequel

    le second régulateur de débit (44) est réglable de manière sélective en réponse auxdites instructions de l'unité de commande (46) pour diriger le second flux de fluide (F2) via une partie du second caloduc.


     
    2. Système (20) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel :

    le premier caloduc est l'un d'une première pluralité de caloducs (152A-152D) ;

    chacun de la première pluralité de caloducs (152A-152D) fait saillie au moins partiellement dans un premier échangeur de chaleur (30) ; et

    le premier régulateur de débit (42) est réglable de manière sélective en réponse aux instructions de l'unité de commande (46) pour diriger le premier flux de fluide (F1) dans le premier échangeur de chaleur (130) et via la première pluralité de caloducs (152A-152D).


     
    3. Système (20) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel :

    le second caloduc est l'un d'une seconde pluralité de caloducs (158A-158D) ;

    chacun de la seconde pluralité de caloducs (158A-158D) fait saillie au moins partiellement dans un second échangeur de chaleur (32) ; et

    le second régulateur de débit (44) est réglable de manière sélective en réponse aux instructions de l'unité de commande (46) pour diriger le second flux de fluide (F2) dans le second échangeur de chaleur (32) et via la seconde pluralité de caloducs (158A-158D).


     
    4. Système selon la revendication 3, dans lequel les premier et second échangeurs de chaleur (30, 32) sont disposés parallèlement l'un à l'autre.
     
    5. Système selon la revendication 3, dans lequel les premier et second échangeurs de chaleur (30, 32) sont disposés en série de sorte que le fluide fournissant le premier flux de fluide est dirigé vers le second échangeur de chaleur (32) pour fournir le second flux de fluide (F2).
     
    6. Système selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel le caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) comprend une pluralité de caloducs et un régulateur de débit réglable entre chaque caloduc.
     
    7. Système selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel le caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) comprend une pluralité de caloducs et un régulateur de débit réglable associé à chaque caloduc, les régulateurs de débit réglables étant disposés parallèlement les uns aux autres.
     
    8. Système selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel le caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) est disposé de manière à exposer chacun des premier et second caloducs à un environnement extérieur.
     
    9. Engin spatial comprenant le système selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le système (20) est incorporé sur l'engin spatial et l'environnement extérieur est l'espace.
     
    10. Engin spatial selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le système (20) est configuré de sorte qu'après interaction avec les premier et second caloducs, le premier flux de fluide (F1) et le second flux de fluide (F2) refroidissent une cabine de l'engin spatial.
     
    11. Engin spatial selon la revendication 9, dans lequel :

    l'unité de commande (46) est couplée électriquement à au moins un capteur (48) configuré pour générer un signal indiquant les conditions à l'intérieur de l'engin spatial ; et

    l'unité de commande (46) est configurée pour régler sélectivement les premier et second régulateurs de débit (42, 44) en fonction des conditions à l'intérieur de l'engin spatial.


     
    12. Engin spatial selon la revendication 9, dans lequel :

    l'unité de commande (46) est couplée électriquement à au moins un capteur (48) configuré pour générer un signal indiquant les conditions à l'extérieur de l'engin spatial ; et

    l'unité de commande (42, 44) est configurée pour régler sélectivement les premier et second régulateurs de débit en fonction des conditions à l'extérieur de l'engin spatial.


     
    13. Procédé, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend :

    l'établissement d'un premier flux de fluide (F1) via une partie d'un premier caloduc d'un caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) ; et

    l'établissement d'un second flux de fluide (F2) via une partie d'un second caloduc du caloduc échangeur de chaleur (28) ;

    dans lequel un régulateur de débit est prévu entre les premier et second caloducs, et dans lequel le régulateur de débit est réglable pour diriger sélectivement le fluide en aval du premier caloduc vers le second caloduc.


     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 13, dans lequel le premier flux de fluide (F1) est disposé parallèlement au second flux de fluide (F2), ou dans lequel le premier flux de fluide (F1) est disposé en série avec le second flux de fluide (F2), de sorte que le fluide fournissant le premier flux de fluide (F1) fournit également le second flux de fluide (F2).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description