The constrained vapor bubble (CVB) experiment is an experiment in thermal fluid science currently operating on the International Space Station. Flown as the first experiment on the Fluids Integrated Rack on the Destiny module of the US part of the space station, the experiment promises to provide new and exciting insights into the working of a wickless micro heat pipe in the micro-gravity environment. The CVB consists of a relatively simple setup — a quartz cuvette with sharp corners partially filled with pentane as the working fluid. Along with temperature and pressure measurements, the curvature of the pentane menisci formed at the corners of the cuvette can be determined using optical measurements. This is the first time the data collected in space environment is being presented to the public. The data shows that, while the performance of the CVB heat pipe is enhanced due to increased fluid flow, the loss of convection as a heat loss mechanism in the space environment, leads to some interesting consequences. We present some significant differences in the operating characteristics of the heat pipe between the space and Earth’s gravity environments and show that this has important ramifications in designing effective radiators for the space environment.

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