The satellite telecommunications industry is currently undergoing significant evolution. Future communication satellites need to accommodate a rapidly growing demand in data transfer, combined with more flexibility. For example, there is a strong need for Very High Throughput Satellites capable of delivering up to Tb/s over wide coverage areas. This is only possible when an active phased array antenna is used.

However, cooling of active antennas requires the use of a highly efficient thermal control system because it has many heat sources (from hundreds to several thousands), very high local heat fluxes (up to 20W/cm² at amplifier interface), high overall dissipation (around 13 kW), and isothermal requirements on the amplifier chain. These conditions are impossible to solve with current state-of-the-art thermal control solutions (e.g. heat pipes or loop heat pipes), but requires a two-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop (MPL). In a MPL, a pump circulates a fluid which evaporates when it absorbs the waste heat from the active antenna.

Large heat rejection capabilities

High local heat fluxes management

Accurate, stable temperature control

MPL – Two-phase mechanically pumped loops

Although a two-phase MPL is a very efficient thermal control system, it is relative complex and is therefore not yet often used in spacecraft. IMPACTA aims to change that.

The objective of IMPACTA is to perform research on a two-phase MPL for an active antenna, and to build a demonstrator with a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of 6. This two-phase MPL will be a key building block in the next generation telecommunications satellites.



The Consortium of IMPACTA has agreed to develop and implement the project according to the following work plan, which includes this list of work packages (WP):

Work flow
  • WP1: Technical and Project Management

Project Management will manage the scientific and technical progress in the project and its contractual and financial aspects.

  • WP2: Technology review and System requirements

The study of the state of the art, the definition of the Active antennae requirements, the analysis of relevant available roadmaps and MPL Engineering Qualification Model requirements.

  • WP3: Trade-off and Preliminary Design

Perform a trade-off of the available technologies within Europe already developed or in on-going projects for the different components of the MPL Engineering Qualification Model.

  • WP4: Detailed Design

Make a detailed design for the Engineering Qualification Model of the two-phase pumped cooling system for MPL and all its components.

  • WP5: Procurement, Manufacturing and Assembly

MAI: Manufacturing, Assembly and Integration of all key components of IMPACTA.

  • WP6: Test Campaign and Conclusions

Perform testing of the EQM.

  • WP7: Outreach Communication and dissemination

The IMPACTA consortium will determine what results and knowledge arising from the project will be made available to the public through public reports (via project website, press releases, etc.) and/or journal publications and conferences.

  • WP8: Exploitation and Commercial Assessment

Elaborate a clear business and future exploitation plan to export project results into the market, defining a clear exploitation plan and defining clear IPR policies to avoid conflict among partners when results of the project are brought to market.

  • WP9: Ethics requirements

‘Ethics requirements’ that the project must comply with.