P20129: Flight-Ready Heat Switch


Project Summary Project Information

The mechanical heat switch is a device that is used as a secondary stage of cooling an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators (ADRs). The heat switch allows cooling of high sensitivity imaging sensors to allow for deep IR detection. A lab prototype was previously designed; however, the design lacked durability and used ferrous materials which interfere with the normal operation of the ADR.

The goal of this project is to iterate the design of the lab prototype to utilize non-ferrous materials and ensure that it maintains reliability at 2 Kelvin for at least 1000 cycles per customer requirements. The system must be designed to fail open in flight and must operate in a sounding rocket for at least ten minutes at altitudes in excess of 350 kilometers. The heat switch must be proven to meet these requirements via tests conducted in the laboratory.

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Project Name
F.R.O.H.S.T. - Flight Ready On-board Heat Switch Technology
Project Number
Project Family
Heat Switch
Start Term
2191 - Fall Semester 2019
End Term
2195 - Spring Semester 2020
Faculty Guide
Marty Pepe
Primary Customer
Dr. Michael Zemcov
Sponsor (financial support)
Center for Detectors

Team Members

 F.R.O.H.S.T. Team

F.R.O.H.S.T. Team

Member Role Contact
Steven Donovan Project Manager & EE Lead smd6502@rit.edu
Jacob Lawson Procurement, Purchasing & ME Lead jdl7821@rit.edu
Matthew Davern Documentation & Facilitator mcd3852@rit.edu
Chris Cannon Scheduling & Communications cpc9852@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination


Customer Requirements

Engineering Requirements


Risk Management

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawing Package

Electrical Schematics

Design Manual

Test Plans

Analysis Results

Test Results

Lightning Talk Video.mp4

Technical Paper