Spacecraft produce large quantities of waste heat which must be radiated away. The effectiveness of a radiator depends on its operating temperature, which in turn must be lower than the temperature of the heat source. Typically spacecraft will have three different radiator systems:
The waste heat produced by other components may be neglected.
The power radiated from a radiator of area A operating at temperature T (and assuming perfect emmisivity) is given by
P = σ A T4
where σ = 5.7 × 10-8 W m-2 K-4
Radiators may be folding, in which case they are only deployed when required. This will enhance the survivability of military vessels, in which the loss of a radiator will limit operational effectiveness.
The future of Ad Astra