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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 tool 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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