ABSL batteries delivered to the International Space Station

ABSL Space Products ( ABSL ) was the first space flight battery manufacturer to qualify lithium-ion ( li-ion ) cells for space flight more than a decade ago and additionally, the first to orbit a li-ion battery. Continuing this tradition of battery heritage, innovation and product delivery, ABSL completed 4 high energy density li-ion long life battery assemblies completely designed, manufactured, and tested at its Longmont Colorado facility in 2010. During that same year the battery assemblies were delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center ( JSC ) for the Extravehicular Mobility Unit ( EMU ) Program. On 24 Feb 2011 the 4 battery assemblies were launched aboard shuttle Discovery on its last mission to rendezvous with the International Space Station ( ISS ) – the second space launch of Colorado built hardware.

The high energy density li-ion long life battery assemblies ( >190Wh/kg at cell-level ) will replace older silver zinc battery technology on the EMU for spacewalks from the ISS. ABSL heritage and innovation played a fundamental role in meeting the technical challenges involved with the replacement of the existing older technology; flexibility with battery configurations and ABSL’s ability to customize solutions for NASA allowed the li-ion replacement batteries to operate within the existing space and electrical interfaces of the equipment. With an energy density of ABSL’s battery assemblies approaching 150Wh/kg, the li-ion replacements will more than double the current run times of the older silver zinc batteries improving performance plus increasing safety and reliability.

It is currently planned for the battery assemblies to be used for the first time for spacewalk activities during the STS-134 docked duration. Manned space missions such as these require battery power sources to be, above all, safe and ABSL’s high performance batteries are designed with multiple levels of redundancy that can maintain functionality under all possible failure scenarios making sure safety is never compromised.

Earlier this year, ABSL delivered an 8s10p battery configuration to an undisclosed client for space flight, making the 4 long life battery assemblies the second successful hardware delivery to space by ABSL’s Longmont Colorado facility.