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Space Products - ABSL Battery on Board NASA's LADEE Mission to the Moon Back to Articles

READING, Pa., December 2, 2013 -- EnerSys® (NYSE: ENS), the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, and its Longmont, Colo. based ABSL Space Products (ABSL) business announced that its Lithium-ion space battery on board NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft was successfully launched on a mission toward the moon on September 6, 2013, and is operating nominally. The spacecraft entered into its moon orbit on October 6, 2013.


In 2010, ABSL was selected by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., which manages the LADEE mission, to build the spacecraft battery. The battery was manufactured and tested at ABSL’s Longmont, Colo. facility and delivered to NASA Ames in 2011. The ABSL battery allows the LADEE spacecraft to perform critical operations on its travel to the moon where it will maintain a lunar orbit as it performs scientific operations to research the moon.


During the lunar orbit phase, ABSL’s Lithium-ion battery will power data collection operations from the science instruments and the laser communication package.  Two of the science instruments were built by NASA and one by the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo. A laser communications technology demonstration package was built by MIT Lincoln Laboratory. LADEE’s mission objectives include gathering detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky. ABSL’s heritage battery technology was selected by NASA for its space heritage, reliability and delivery track record. ABSL has powered 100 spacecraft launched to date with over 75,000 cell years of space operation without failure.


“ABSL is excited to provide NASA with energy storage for another lunar mission.  LADEE is ABSL’s fourth Lithium-ion lunar battery program in the last five years,” said Richard W. Zuidema, Executive Vice President, EnerSys. “ABSL’s first two lunar mission with NASA were successfully flown in 2009 with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).”


LADEE was launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on September 6 at 11:27 pm. With clear skies at the time of the flight, sky watchers along the East Coast were able to see the moon probe being launched atop of a Minotaur V rocket.  After about 40 to 50 seconds, the rocket became visible just above the horizon. It looked like a bright star or a plane making a low arc, before it faded away about a minute later.

 
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