As reduction in the size of electronics creates demand for smaller, less expensive and faster-to-produce spacecraft, the use of high heat flux electronics or advanced nuclear propulsion systems will increase the stress on the thermal subsystem. This work presents a thermal management solution to this problem using liquid-cooled microchannel heat sinks. First, a simple computer model is used to illustrate the need for an atypical cooling method when high-heat flux electronics are used. Second, a thermal/fluid model of microchannel heat sinks is developed and applied to address the satellite thermal need. The total thermal resistances and pressure drops show excellent comparison with published experimental and analytical results. Finally, the model of the microchannel heat sink is optimized to remove 25 W/cm2 over a footprint of 3.7cm2. The mass flow rate needed was significantly lower (almost 5–10 times lower) when compared to other published results, which means that micro-pumps available on the market will be sufficient. The integration of the microchannel system with the satellite is also discussed.

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