Due to the need for an atmosphere or working fluid, forced convection cooling has seen limited use in space applications. This paper considers an ideal candidate — the Dragonfly Lander, a rotocraft being sent into Deep-space to conduct experiments on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. A forced convection based thermal management solution is presented for the Rotor Drive Electronics (RDE) unit, a high power electronics box responsible for controlling the rotors that allow the Lander to fly on Titan. A thermal flow model is built in Solidworks Flow Simulation to evaluate the effectiveness of a fan system used as the primary method for cooling the RDE. The model is validated with temperature data collected from a representative test setup. By utilizing forced convection, temperatures within the tightly packaged RDE are able to remain within operational limits when conductive and radiative heat transfer alone are insufficient. Through modeling, RDE thermal behavior is captured for an environment never before operated in, and it is shown that Titan’s dense atmosphere makes forced convection a particularly efficient method of heat transfer. This research may guide the use of forced convection in other space or non-traditional environments.

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