Posted by Courtney E. Howard
READING, Pa., 9 March 2011. ABSL Space Products (ABSL), a business unit of EnerSys, has delivered its batteries to the International Space Station (ISS). ABSL is the first space flight battery manufacturer to qualify lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells for space flight more than a decade ago and was the first to orbit a Li-ion battery, says a company spokesperson.
ABSL completed four high energy density, long-life Li-Ion battery assemblies that were designed, manufactured, and tested at its Longmont, Colo., facility. The space-qualified battery assemblies were delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center for the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) program in 2010. On February 24, 2011, the four battery assemblies were launched aboard shuttle Discovery on its last mission to rendezvous with the ISS, the second space launch of ABSL Colorado-built battery hardware. Earlier this year, ABSL delivered a battery to an undisclosed client for a space flight.
The battery assemblies, >190Wh/kg at the cell level, will replace older silver zinc battery technology on the EMU for spacewalks from the ISS. Flexibility with battery configurations and ABSL's ability to customize solutions for NASA enabled the Li-Ion replacement batteries to operate within the existing space and electrical interfaces of the equipment. The energy density of ABSL's battery assemblies will more than double the present run times of the older silver zinc batteries, improving performance and increasing safety and reliability.
ABSL's batteries are designed with multiple levels of redundancy that can maintain functionality under various failure scenarios in order to ensure safety is never compromised. The battery assemblies will be used for the first time for spacewalk activities in late April or early May 2011 during the STS-134 docked duration.