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Cryogenics & Fluids Branch (Code 552)

3 stage Adiabetic Demagnetization Refrigerator (ADR) developed for Astro-H

3 stage Adiabetic Demagnetization Refrigerator (ADR) developed for Astro-H


The Cryogenics and Fluids Branch provides world-class expertise in the design and development of low temperature cooling systems and related technologies for space flight applications. Typical science customers are infrared or x-ray detection instruments such as the Astro-H Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) and the James Webb Space Telescope Mid-Infrared Instrument. Our technologies and capabilities support cooling systems for detectors, optics, subsystems, or entire spacecraft that need to achieve or survive temperatures below 100 Kelvin. Related research in superconductivity has included superconducting detectors, and materials for superconducting joints and magnets. The Branch provides end-to-end support from general consulting, research and development to integration, testing, and launch support. The Branch also provides expertise for materials testing at cryogenic temperatures and subsystem or system level cryogenic thermal analysis and mechanical design.

The Branch is a world leader in the development of Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerators (ADR) to achieve sub-Kelvin temperatures. Many of the key technologies such as magnetocaloric materials and passive heat switches have been developed or validated in house. Two flight ADR's have been built and a multi-stage flight ADR is being built for SXS on Astro-H.

The Branch has extensive experience in stored cryogen systems for ground and space applications and has developed or consulted on every flight stored cryogen system developed by NASA since the inception of the Branch. The Branch members are also experienced in cryogenic fluid handling.

Closed-cycle mechanical cryogenic refrigerators are developed in close partnership with industry. The Branch maintains a cryocooler test bed and serves as an independent testing authority for characterization and qualification of cryocoolers for potential use for space flight applications. Several coolers developed through Branch contracts or validated in our facilities have successfully flown, including the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph (NICMOS) Cryocooler installed on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) during servicing mission 3B and the cooler flown on the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) launched in 2002.


Branch Management Team

Erik Silk Hudson Delee Xiaoyi Li

Erik Silk

Hudson Delee
Associate Head
Xiaoyi Li
Associate Head


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