Spacecraft Thermal Control

Course length:

2 Days



Course dates

  • Sep 19 2023

    2 days, 08:30 AM CDT - 04:30 PM CDT
    • $1,690.00 excl.
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This is a fast-paced two-day course appropriate for System Engineers/Managers with an interest in improving their understanding of spacecraft thermal design or Engineers who want to get an overview of thermal systems engineering process. All phases of thermal design, integration, testing, and in-flight operations are covered in enough depth to give a deeper understanding of the design process. The goals are to have every student understand (1) “bigger picture” system and tradeoff issues (2) thermal analysis, design, thermal devices, thermal testing, and (3) how the thermal design interacts with the overall system design and fits into the overall picture of satellite design. Case studies, lessons learned, and interactive problems, illustrate the importance of thermal design and the current state of the art.

What You Will Learn:

How the Thermal Engineer:

  • Defines Thermal Requirements
  • Sets Thermal Limits throughout the project lifecycle
  • Does basic conduction, convection, and radiation analysis
  • Devises and Implements Thermal Testing
  • Chooses Thermal Hardware (active and passive)
  • Performs Computer calculations
  • Interacts with other systems and project management

Course Outline:

  1. Why is the Thermal Design So Important?
  2. The Role of Thermal Control in Spacecraft Design.
    • What does the thermal design have to accomplish?
    • What factors affect the thermal design?
    • Type of thermal systems
    • The thermal design process
    • Special considerations for subsystems:
  3. Project Life Cycle
    • Life cycle definition
    • Reviews
    • Technology demonstration levels
    • Risk classification
  4. Requirements, Limits and Margins
  5. Science versus engineering driven
    • Requirement modes
    • Types of thermal requirements and margins
    • Limits definitions
    • Types of margins
  6. Heat Transfer Mechanisms, Fluxes, and Energy Balances
    • Conduction, convection, radiation
    • Other heat sources
    • Incident energy of a spacecraft
    • Energy balance equation
    • Effects of coatings
    • Solar, Albedo, and Earth IR
  7. Overall Thermal Analysis
    • Analysis Types
    • Software packages
    • Nodalization and model building
    • Radiation analysis
    • Finite difference analysis
    • Parameters and constraints
    • Orbits and spacecraft attitude
  8. Thermal Hardware
    • Control Coatings
    • Interface Materials
    • Isolators
    • Heaters and sensors
    • Radiators, doublers, and heat straps
    • Louvers
    • Heat Pipes, pumped loop systems
    • MLI
  9. Integration and Testing
    • Test planning
    • Types of tests and objectives
    • Levels of testing
    • Test requirements
    • Test profiles
    • Test set-up, control methods, and hardware
    • Test documentation
    • Test analysis, modeling, and correlation
  10. Summary and Questions


Carol L. Mosier, NASA Emeritus, has over 30 years of experience in the field of thermal engineering. Ms. Mosier was a 2017 recipient of NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, for her key contributions to mission success, thermal software development, and thermal training. Her diverse work portfolio includes a variety of instrument, balloncraft, and spacecraft systems, operating in cryogenic, convective and high-temperature environments and enabling more than twenty missions ranging from technology demonstrations to Earth and interplanetary science. Ms. Mosier is experienced in all aspects of thermal engineering, including design, analysis, requirements development, integration, testing, and flight operations. Ms. Mosier’s educational activities included developing and teaching thermal design classes for the Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Maryland, NASA Engineering & Safety Center, and Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshops (TFAWS).


REGISTRATION: There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course. We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at