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This is a close-up view of the 4-inch square microscopic radiator placed on the "skin" of one of NASA's Space Technology 5 (ST5) micro-satellites scheduled to launch from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Mar. 15. The temperature control device, formally known as the "Variable Emittance (Vari-E) Coatings for Thermal Control," is based on MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology employing shutters so small that several abreast are smaller than the width of a single human hair. The device was developed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in conjunction with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The 4-inch square radiator contains 36 chips, each about the size of a single key on a computer keyboard. Looking at a chip under a microscope, one could see 72 shutter segments, each driven back and forth by six tiny motors controlled from the electrostatic charge-based power source located inside the satellite.

This video shows a close-up view of one of the Vari-E microscopic radiator's shutter segments opening and closing. Each shutter segment is driven back and forth by six tiny motors controlled from the electrostatic charge-based power source located inside one of NASA's Space Technology 5 satellites. There are 72 shutter segments on each of the 36 chips within the 4-inch-square radiator.

The microscopic radiator was placed on the "skin" of one of NASA's Space Technology 5 (ST5) micro-satellites scheduled to launch from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Mar. 15. The temperature control device, formally known as the "Variable Emittance (Vari-E) Coatings for Thermal Control," is based on MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology employing shutters so small that several abreast are smaller than the width of a single human hair. The device was developed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in conjunction with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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