Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Good enough for space!

NASA approved BetaTHERM temperature sensors for extended space flight applications

As a major part of its exclusive distribution partnership with NTC temperature measurement specialists BetaTHERM (part of MEAS), Variohm-Eurosensor is supplying space flight approved high reliability thermistors used to monitor critical temperature for extended space flight applications.

The NASA approved and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC 311) rated temperature sensor is supplied to ABSL Space Products based in England and the USA to perform the essential temperature measurement of lithium-ion battery packs that are used to power the life support system in astronauts’ space suits.

The advanced design of this battery pack includes a sophisticated control system with cooling fans and heaters together with the epoxy-encapsulated BetaTHERM thermistors that maintain the battery temperature within a strict range to provide an optimal operational life. The battery packs are used to power different types of space suit including the ‘Extravehicular Mobility Units’ or EMUs that astronauts typically use when space walking - so it is easy to appreciate the need for the absolute and total reliability from all components used.

Quality control for the NASA approved range includes re-qualifying products annually by screening visual and mechanical requirements, testing thermal shock, high-temperature storage and insulation resistance to ensure total reliability for space flight and other high-reliability applications.

The working accuracy tolerance for the space suit application is typically better than ±0.5% over a range of 0°C−70°C with an operational storage temperature range of −55°C to +70°C

These thermistors find applications in demanding temperature measurement, control and compensation applications in biomedical, automotive, aerospace, instrumentation, HVAC, consumer industries and instrumentation. The range enjoys the highest reputation for total reliability and uncompromising accuracy with product features that include interchangeability to +/- 0.05 ºC, miniaturised designs to < 0.35 mm diameter, and a high degree of engineering flexibility including rapid prototyping of customised designs.

BetaTHERM also designs and manufacture High Reliability temperature sensors for European Space Agency (ESA) specified and approved applications.

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