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    What is TCDT?

    The Thermal Concept Design Tool (TCDT) software package is intended to provide to the thermal engineer a flexible and easy environment for the definition of thermal models and to perform analyses and design tasks for spacecraft and payloads. It has been designed with the objective to assist the thermal engineers in reducing the effort required by simulation activities allowing him to focus mainly on conceptual activities during feasibility and preliminary studies.

    The TCDT tools are:

    • Original TCDT
    • New pyTCDT

    pyTCDT is a stand alone executable that simply the installation procedure and maintenace versus different systems.
    The tool provides a user friendly computing environment that includes:

    • Thermal design and analysis functions
    • All of THECAL functions can be run multiple time by passing arrays instead of single values as inputs.
    • Powerful python scripting engine.
    • Unit of measure management.
    • Fluids thermal properties.
    • Workspace load/save with possibility to store materials database.

    The tool includes all the original TCDT non model based THECAL function plus the natural convection conduction coefficient calculation.

    Artifis and Topic are managed as normal thecal functions, pyTCDT can store and manage all output of these tools.

    Running the TCDT executable does not require any additional license.

    The Original TCDT is subdivided in two main packages, the Thermal Simulation Manager (THESMA) dedicated to activities based on numerical models and analyses and the Thermal Calculator (THECAL) for performing analytical computations. These packages provide several functionalities to the user , such as:


    • Build geometrical and thermal mathematical models based on the lumped parameter method
    • Create model input data for ESARAD, ESATAN, ThermXL, Artifis, Topic
    • Define missions, radiative analysis cases and thermal analysis cases
    • Run analysis cases with ESARAD, ESATAN, ThermXL, Artifis, Topic
    • Retrieve the results of analysis cases previously performed
    • Perform specific analysis and design tasks on pre-built typical geometrical/thermal configurations
    • Perform parametric and stochastic analyses (e.g. for extreme cases assessment)


    • Calculate Mass, Centre of Gravity, Moments of Inertia and thermal capacitances for simple geometrical configurations
    • Calculate conductive couplings and contact conductance for simple geometrical configurations
    • Calculate radiative conductors and external fluxes calculated for simple geometrical configurations
    • Select among possible Insulation and thermal interfaces
    • Perform analytical design tasks
    • Perform data processing on lumped parameter models and analyses performed wit the THESMA (calculation of sink temperatures, heat exchange …)

    The TCDT External TCS Tools

    The THESMA package provides functionality to generate models, launch analyses both on local and remote machines and retrieve results from ESATAN, ESARAD, ThermXL (only on local PC), Artifis and Topic tools. Note that these tools are not distributed within the TCDT package. ESATAN, ESARAD and ThermXL are commercial tools, contact the manufacturer for more information. Artifis and Topic are tools in use at ESTEC, click here for more information and availability.

    Package content

    The TCDT package contains:

    • TCDT: the main programs
      • ThermXL Version
      • Non ThermXL Version
    • TCDTuseraddin: a user customizable addin based upon TCDT
      • ThermXL Version
      • Non ThermXL Version
    • TCDT Help
      • User Manual
      • Programmers refrence manual
      • Theoretical manual
    • Tutorials
    • Release notes
    • Installing notes

    Platforms and Hardware


    Minimum requirements

    Computer and processor

    Personal computer with a 1000-MHz Pentium III Processor

    Operating System and additional software

    • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Microsoft Excel 2000
    • Microsoft Windows XP with Microsoft Excel 2003


    256 Mb

    Hard disk

    100 MB of available hard-disk space


    CD-ROM drive


    Super VGA (1280 × 1024)

    Local Area Network (LAN)

    A local network connection is required for certain functionalities (I/F and exchange data with external software installed on other platforms)

    Please report all problems encountered to the TCDT team via the Software Problem Report (SPR) page.

    About this website

    This website, which is dedicated to the TCDT, will be updated when newer versions of the software become available.

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