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Batteries - Unmanned Batteries

Spacecraft batteries are mission critical items that must be relied upon to provide power for platform and payload systems. Batteries mainly provide power during periods of solar array shadowing but are also mandatory during early mission phases prior to full solar array deployment. Batteries can also meet short-term high current demands for instance for pyrotechnic system actuation or fuse blowing events. Failure of batteries to provide energy above the minimum voltage requirement can lead to systems undervolt and loss of mission. Nominal battery performance is essential for mission success.

ABSL has provided batteries to meet the spectrum of spacecraft applications. ABSL provided the first Lithium-ion batteries in orbit around the Earth, Mars and Venus. ABSL batteries have powered spacecraft for comet rendezvous missions as well as planetary landers. Upcoming programs powered by ABSL Lithium-ion hardware will take NASA around the Moon (as well as onto the Moon on the LCROSS program) and into Geostationary orbit, preferred by telecommunications spacecraft. Closer to home, ABSL has delivered batteries to meet just about every possible Earth orbit (LEO, MEO, HEO, GTO and GEO). In particular, ABSL has the longest serving Lithium-ion space battery, still performing nominally after almost seven years in LEO and more than 35,000 charge/discharge cycles. ABSL is also the first vendor to have flown Lithium-ion for a ten-year LEO mission with four SAR-Lupe spacecraft already launched (fifth due in 2009). This versatility and proven performance is unmatched in the industry.

ABSL has a range of space qualified cells to meet the needs of any spacecraft program. High energy and high power cells are available within a battery scheme that is highly scalable both in terms of voltage and capacity. ABSL has space proven batteries with nominal voltages from 7V up to 270V and capacities from 3Ah to in excess of 150Ah. Such a proven history across a variety of different applications means that ABSL has a wide range of pre-qualified space battery designs that can be leveraged for reduced cost and schedule.

In addition to a wide range of Build To Print (BTP) battery design options, ABSL retains the ability to meet the most custom of applications. The flexibility of the ABSL design approach has enabled batteries to be installed in highly irregular volume envelopes (for instance on planetary landers). Unique mission requirements have been met time and time by innovative space engineering.

Longest Serving Batteries

MARS EXPRESS – Since 2nd June 2003
ROSETTA and PHILAE – Since 2nd March 2004
PROBA – Since 22nd October 2001
DEMETER – Since 29th June 2004


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