A large telescope aperture, stringent thermal stability and temperature range requirements, and a passively-cooled 150°K module presented major challenges in thermal design and hardware fabrication of this Small Explorer satellite. This paper reviews briefly the thermal design of the SWAS science instrument, and examines the first three months of on-orbit thermal history. Measured temperatures for both the science payload and the spacecraft module and solar arrays are compared with those predicted by the correlated analytical model. Similarities and differences are interpreted in terms of the major uncertainties remaining after thermal-balance testing, especially those of MLI performance and telescope aperture properties. Review of the thermal model adequacy and thermal design verification are included to suggest improvements in the thermal design process for future missions.