Thermal Straps

Heritage and Experience

SDL designed, built, and tested the SABER instrument, which is still on orbit and performing flawlessly since 2001. We developed this thermal strap technology in 1994 to connect the sensitive SABER focal plane to its mini pulse-tube cryocooler, and have been fabricating straps ever since.  In addition to the SABER instrument, SDL has been designing, building, and testing space and airborne instruments since 1959.  

SDL has built straps for a wide range of customers, programs, and applications, including:

  • James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
  • Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)
  • Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover
  • Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) MIGHTI
  • Joint Polar Satellite Program (JPSS) Visible Infrared Imaging
  • Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
  • Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) & Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)
  • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) GLM
  • ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel missions
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
  • Numerous commercial programs & defense applications
  • Airborne instruments, terrestrial applications & GSE

In addition to SDL’s seasoned, full-time thermal strap staff, SDL employs expert engineers and technicians with decades of experience working on spaceflight programs ranging from large instruments to small satellites. Engineers and machinists work closely from the initial request for quote through delivery to ensure manufacturability and full requirement compliance.




Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

The WISE cryogenically-cooled infrared telescope provided a complete stellar infrared map more than 1,000 times more detailed than previous surveys.

JWST Thermal Links

James Webb Space Telescope

SDL developed thermal links to transport heat from JWST’s science instruments to their radiators, enabling each instrument to operate at desired temperatures.


Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry

SABER, a 10-channel infrared (1.27 to 16.9 µm) radiometer, is one of four instruments on NASA's TIMED mission, which is dedicated to study the dynamics of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) portion of the Earth's atmosphere.