Development of a valved linear compressor for a satellite borne J-T cryocooler

Jaime Reed (1), Mike Dadd (1), Paul Bailey (1), Michael Petach (2), Jeff Raab (2)

  1. Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PJ, UK.
  2. Northrop Grumman Space Technology, One Space Park, Redondo Beach, California 90278, USA

The provision of temperatures below 12 K is essential for sub-mm and FIR observations from satellite instruments. Historically this has been achieved with the use of stored cryogens, however mechanical coolers could potentially provide more reliable, flexible, and long-lasting performance. These cryocoolers typically operate with a regenerative cold-finger, such as a Pulse-Tube, however this can be replaced by a closed-cycle recuperative Joule-Thompson stage to obtain the lower temperatures required. The major change to the compressor is the requirement for rectified steady flow. This paper describes the development of such a compressor which uses reed valves and is based on existing space qualified hardware.