High Efficiency Cryocoolers

Snowflakes on a satellite above Earth 

Keeping It Cool

Northrop Grumman has an extensive and highly successful history providing pulse tube cryocoolers for space applications. We have delivered 34 flight cryocoolers, with 16 currently operating on orbit and 18 in spacecraft I&T awaiting launch. Northrop Grumman cryocoolers have never failed or shown degraded on-orbit performance.

Designed to operate over ten years with unchanged performance, Northrop Grumman cryocoolers have accumulated over 130 years of combined on-orbit operation without failure. Five of the earliest missions have been operating continuously in excess of ten years with the earliest exceeding seventeen years and counting.

The long life and high reliability of the Northrop Grumman cryocoolers is attributed to our pulse tube cryocooler design which has no moving parts in the cold head. Northrop Grumman compressors are non-wearing with flexure bearings operating in the infinite life regime.

Northrop Grumman pulse tube cryocoolers are mass efficient and designed to produce minimum disturbance to the host instrument. Simple mechanical and thermal interfaces and standard electronics interfaces facilitate payload integration.

A large range of cooling requirements are met using one of four standard compressor sizes with appropriate cold heads. Available configurations include single or multi-temperature linear, coaxial, and Joule-Thomson cold head variations. Northrop Grumman cryocoolers are used in multiple missions to cool sensors, scientific instruments and optics over a wide temperature range from 6 Kelvin to 300 Kelvin. The design can be extended to 1.7 Kelvin. Cooling can be provided at locations physically remote from the compressor and electronics. Autonomous control electronics enable high stability temperature control and active vibration control as well as extensive telemetry and fault management.

Northrop Grumman's space flight-proven cryocoolers and electronics offer scalability, efficient performance and demonstrated reliability to enable critical performance with assured mission success.