You already know you can find Minco heaters in some of the most essential applications on Earth — but you can also find them miles and miles above it.
Since the 1960s, Minco has contributed space flight qualified heaters to over 60 space programs across the globe. That’s more than 20,000 aerospace heaters keeping humans, equipment and critical power sources safe, whether in high altitude environments or even in orbit.
Where Spaceflight-Rated Heaters are Used
Minco heaters are found in batteries, camera optics, floor heating and deicing systems, propulsion lines, gimbals, electronics, air scrubbers, actuators and even payloads in the aerospace industry. We’ve designed and manufactured heating components for mission-critical equipment used on commercial aircraft, satellites, and more. You can find Minco products pretty much anywhere electronic elements need to be kept warm in space, including:
- Space suits and crew comfort systems
- Waveguides, parabolic antennae, and satellite structural components
- Release actuators
- Radiometers and telescopes
- Cameras and optical components
- Lithium-ion batteries and power systems
- Telemetry and remote controls
- Vehicle equipment bays
- Scientific instrumentation
- Altitude, propulsion, and orbital control
- Crew comfort
Features & Specs of Minco Spaceflight Thermofoil™ Heaters
Our aerospace heaters are commonly designed to handle temperatures from -200°C to 150°C (-328°F to 302°F). But some designs can withstand higher temperature ranges depending on the required specifications:
- Kapton (polyimide) heaters with acrylic (WA) lamination adhesive: -200°C to +150°C (-328°F to 302°F)
- FEP adhesive heaters: -200°C to 200°C (-328°F to 392°F)
- AP (All-Polyimide) heaters: -200°C to 230°C (-328°F to 446°F)
These heaters are often manufactured with different types of polyimide, which we selected for its low outgassing, resistance to heat and very high radiation resistance properties, which improve heater performance in aerospace and spaceflight conditions. Our AP heaters offer the highest radiation resistance of all the spaceflight-rated heaters Minco offers.
Did you know: Heaters aren’t the only Minco products you’ll find at high altitudes. Our sensors are found in engine monitoring and air data systems, and many avionics and flight control systems feature Minco flex circuits.
Our space flight products are similar to our high-temperature polyimide HAP series, with the additional benefits of being constructed entirely from low-outgassing materials and incorporating pressure-sensitive mounting adhesive (PSA). Their design and high-quality components offer the following benefits for spaceflight applications:
- Highest resistance per area of any space-rated electronic heating technology in the world.
- Thin, lightweight heaters with low mass construction and factory lamination saves space and reduces cycle time
- Radiation resistance higher than any Minco flexible heating product
- Lower costs with accurate, precise heat application and less wasted energy
- Increased throughput with etched-foil heating technology for more efficient thermal cycling of samples
- Resistant to most chemicals including acids and solvents
Uniquely Certified for International Spaceflight
We’re also the only supplier of industrial heating components to be certified by both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), and the heaters we develop custom for aerospace clients are made to exacting specifications to meet and exceed regulations for spaceflight. Often, these heaters need to meet intergovernmental standards like:
- NASA GSFC S-311-P-079 (design, materials, conditioning and testing requirements)
- NASA GSFC S-311-P-841 (design, materials, conditioning and testing requirements)
- NASA GSFC EEE-INST-002 (design, materials, conditioning and testing requirements)
- ESCC 4009/003 (design, materials, conditioning and testing requirements)
- NASA-RP-1061 (certifying suitability for vacuum environments)
- ISO9001:2015 and AS9100D (for safety from TÜV SÜD America)
Other times, we design and build to highly stringent commercial specifications from individual aircraft manufacturers based on specific dimensions, power profile, voltage, resistance and power output. And because our customers often have their own proprietary control system, Minco can develop heaters that are designed to integrate rather than supplant, providing seamless operation with their existing systems.
One major commercial aircraft manufacturer worked with Minco to install heater technology in its aircraft. They needed a way to safely prevent ice and moisture from building up on the aircraft’s display screens, cameras and laser finders when the aircraft reached high altitude. Using our engineer-to-engineer (E2E) approach, we collaborated with their team to install our proprietary ThermalClear heating solution to keep those displays from icing up, even in bad weather, for much lower cost than other heater solutions.
Read our free E2E ebook here to find out how Minco’s uniquely collaborative process leads to better products — no matter where they end up — by bringing together the best engineering minds from both our and our customers’ teams.
Need a standard heater to prototype with before reaching out for a custom design?
No problem. We offer a selection of off-the-shelf space heaters on our ecommerce store here.