Cryocoolers are critical in their various jobs such as cooling down satellite sensors and cameras—in fact some need to be cooled to temperatures as low as -320 F (-195 C) for the camera to detect what they're designed to capture.
Now there is a new highly-compact microsite cryocooler from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) that enables quick-startup infrared (IR) sensors for missile and sensor applications. Cryocoolers are standard components in IR-sensing platforms, from space observation to weapons targeting, and this new product enables faster activation and smaller packaging. Highly sophisticated electronics such as satellite sensors and cameras need to be cooled to detect what they're designed to capture.
Dr. Jeffrey Olson, a research scientist at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center stated, "The Fast Cool Down Microcryocooler makes sure our military can have rapid-reaction systems, from missile to passive sensor applications. We can cool an IR sensor in three minutes, versus the 12 to 15 minutes of current systems. That's crucial when lives are on the line."
This microcryocooler uses the same miniaturized compressor as the standard microcryocooler but with a new cold head. The innovative architecture allows engineers to reduce the cold head to just 54 mm long, less than half the length of the previous model. And at just 320 grams the cooler still provides big capability even for compact, hand-carried weapon systems and small spacecraft, like cubesats. Plus, the Fast Cool Down Microcryocooler delivers these capabilities with a decade-long design life.