As spacecraft increase in complexity, greater power is required to drive their onboard systems. The resulting generation of waste heat demands efficient thermal control, especially for electrical components emitting heat at high flux densities. Weislogel proposed a passive two-phase heat transport system for space application, driven by constant volume boilers, called the pulse thermal loop (PTL). This paper describes four methods of operating a PTL using real-time pressure data as the control parameter. Preliminary results are presented from an experimental loop using R-134a as the working fluid. Control is exercised through algorithm-based schemes implemented in LabVIEW. Results suggest that stable operation of the loop is best achieved by actuating flow control valves in response to a preset pressure difference between the boilers. Control schemes based on absolute pressure, set pulse frequency, and a combination of absolute and differential pressures are also described. Performance data are presented, and some of the challenges faced during PTL operation are discussed, including start-up and asymmetrical pressurization of the boilers.

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