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Sat temps in orbit?

  1. Apr 12, 2006 #1
    My understanding is that pretty much anything in orbit of Earth is subjected to some, to say the least, "extreme" temperatures. 300F degrees or more above zero on the sunny side, and dammed near as much below zero on the shady side.

    So what's the average temp at the core of something like a Comm satellite?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2006 #2
    spin to avg temps?
  4. Apr 12, 2006 #3


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    Temperature in space is very non-intuitive.

    Remember, there is no air, and most of the heat we're used to is transferred via conduction from the air which surrounds us.

    The only way for a satellite to get hot is through radiation from the Sun or the Earth. The only way for it to get cold is through radiation to the background or the Earth.

    Real satellites use complicated thermal systems to pump heat around to radiative panels to get rid of it, so any internal components are more-or-less at Earth surface temperature plus-or-minus about 30 degrees C.

    If you just had a block of stuff in space with no thermal control system whatsoever, the final temperature would depend on the absorption and emmission properties of the material, how long the Earth occludes light from the Sun during the object's orbit, geometry and spin rates, etc... so somewhere between 4K and the temperature of the Sun.
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