Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps (GFTS®)
The World's Only Flexible Graphite / Carbon-Based Strap with Spaceflight Heritage
TAI provides the world's only flexible graphite fiber thermal straps / links (GFTS®). GFTS® assemblies have become the space industry's standard for lightweight, high conductance, flexible thermal straps, and TAI alone has the GFTS® spaceflight heritage required by NASA, JAXA, and ESA. Unlike Graphene Composite Sheet Links and Pyrolytic Graphite Sheet (PGS) Links, GFTS® assemblies have spaceflight heritage, have been extensively space qualified, and do not tear / are not catastrophically damaged by simple mishandling or typical vibration and shock profiles associated with launch and operational use. They also weigh in at just a small fraction of the mass of equivalent copper rope, or metallic foil thermal straps, yet GFTS® program and flight model (FM) unit costs are the same as competing metallic foil straps, and more affordable than any other graphene composite or graphite strap available.
Though graphite/carbon thermal straps / "thermal shunts" / "thermal cables" have been studied since the late 1960's, TAI alone, perfected and fabricates the only graphite fiber thermal strap products. We began research on, and built our first GFTS® in 1995, and were later awarded USAF SBIR Ph I and follow-on Ph II programs (in 1996 & 1997), to further develop GFTS® and thermally-conductive vibration isolation technology for cryocoolers.
TAI's GFTS® assemblies not only have spaceflight heritage; they have been subjected to (and successfully passed), some of industry's most grueling qualification/test requirements ever applied to thermal strap products (see our spaceflight qualification data table at the bottom of the page).
GFTS® have been used in a variety of advanced thermal management applications, both space and ground-based, in areas such as: antennas, satellite electronics boxes, radiators, cryocoolers, optics systems, cryogenic refrigerator compressors, communication & radar power electronic systems, and electromechanical systems. Our GFTS® products have flown--or will be launching soon--on the following programs:
- NASA's ORION Spacecraft - Launched December 2015. TAI designed and assembled dozens of GFTS® assemblies (for NASA, Ball Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin), for the Data Acquisition Systems and Phased Antenna Arrays on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. TAI is still filling follow-on FM orders for ORION at present.
- JAXA's ASTRO-H (Hitomi) - Launched February 2016. TAI designed and assembled dozens of GFTS® assemblies for JAXA, for PC-B Compressors, and cryocoolers on ASTRO-H.
- Numerous Department of Defense Satellite Programs (Program Names Withheld) - Launched in 2016, and others set for launch in 2017 - 2019. TAI is currently filling follow-on FM orders for multiple programs.
- ESA & NASA's Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE) instrument (on Solar Orbiter) - Launches 2018. TAI designed and assembled multiple straps to cool chips and other components.
- Boeing's CST-100 Commercial Crew Vehicle - Launches in 2018. TAI designed and assembled over 100 prototype and FM GFTS® assemblies for the crew module battery system.
- NASA JPL's GRACE-FO - Launches in 2018. TAI designed assembled prototype and FM GFTS® assemblies.
- DLR's EnMAP - Launches in 2019. TAI designed and assembled prototype and FM GFTS® assemblies for the SWIR detectors.
- GPS III - Launches in 2018. TAI designed and assembled numerous prototype and FM GFTS® assemblies for Honeywell and other prime contractors on the program.
- Ball Aerospace's GEMS UV-VIS Spectrometer (GEO-KOMPSAT-2B Satellite) - Launches 2018. TAI designed and assembled protoflight GFTS® assembly to provide mechanical decoupling with heat pipe.
- TAI has also provided prototype and FM GFTS® assemblies for several other customers including: OHB, Thales Alenia, Selex, CSA-Moog, Toshiba, NRL, L-3 and others.