Purpose – This paper presents a new multi‐channel temperature measurement system (MCTMS) with small size, light weight and low power consumption for the microgravity fluid experiment of drop Marangoni migration on SZ‐4 spaceship, a test module of the manned space mission of China. Design/methodology/approach – The MCTMS, with a commercial‐off‐the‐shelf (COTS) component monolithic thermocouple amplifier with cold junction compensation AD595, is designed to measure temperature gradient field of up to 6 type T thermocouples Cu‐Constantan for microgravity fluid experiment. Through an analog multiplexer, the very small signal amplitude of the six‐channel temperatures can be acquired and amplified by the same monolithic thermocouple amplifier to retain the consistency of the six channels. A fully mission analysis and evaluation on the COTS component was taken into account before it was used in the thermal and radiation environment of space. Findings – Using the COTS component in space can increase the system performance and considerably reduce the size, weight, power consumption and the overall complexity of the system. The measurement resolution of the MCTMS reaches 0.1°C because of the utilization of the COTS with high performance. In addition, the transfer function of the AD595 was deduced for type T thermocouples. Originality/value – This paper suggests an easy way of measuring temperature for microgravity fluid experiment on spacecraft. Using a COTS component on spacecraft, also, is a new practical case study, which is more suitable for on‐board implementation. The MCTMS, presented in this work, has run in‐orbit successfully on SZ‐4 spaceship and the experiment result in space is reported.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: Space vehicles; Temperature measurement
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