Power Electronics

Li-ion Batteries to be Supplied for GALILEO Satellites

Galileo Industries and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected Saft lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery modules to provide the on-board power for the four satellites that will comprise the IOV (In Orbit Validation) phase of GALILEO, Europe’s contribution to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The GALILEO Program is jointly funded by the European Commission and ESA and the project will see Saft’s high-energy, flight-proven Li-ion batteries.

This latest development follows Saft’s successful delivery in May 2005 of the Li-ion battery modules for the GIOVE second pathfinder (technology validation) satellite for the GALILEO program. This satellite, manufactured by Alcatel Alenia Space on a Proteus LEO platform and due for launch late 2006, will perform in-orbit testing and characterization of critical payload elements and the Galileo navigation signal and receivers.

In normal operation, the solar panels on the GALILEO IOV satellites will supply all the power required for the on-board electronic systems. But there will be a minimum of 170 times a year when the panels are ‘eclipsed’ by the earth, with no direct sunlight for periods of up to 80 min. During these periods, the on-board batteries will have to provide around 1.5 kW of power to ensure the satellite’s continued, uninterrupted operation, throughout a 12-year mission.

Saft has developed a specialized high-energy battery module for the GALILEO IOV project, comprising nine Li-ion battery packs connected in series, each pack comprising three VES180S cells in parallel. The VES180S is a new, up-rated cell derived from the VES140S cells established as the standard for GEO satellite applications. It has a specific energy of 170 Whr/kg, a 25% improvement on the VES140S, providing a significant weight saving and improved payload capacity.

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