tech2 News StaffFeb 13, 2017 17:40:51 IST
Nasa is working on the next generation of solid state batteries for spacecraft, that could replace the currently available bulky batteries. A significant portion of the space in small satellites is used up by the power source. Experts in material engineering are creating flat batteries that can be part of the structure of a satellite or spacecraft, freeing up space for scientific instruments and sensors. The new batteries could be used in a number of small spacecraft, including satellites based on the CubeSat standard.
The CubeSat standard is a platform that allows students and organisations to rapidly build and deploy custom satellites. As the battery is flat and thin, only about 2-3 millimeters thick, there are a number of interesting applications. The batteries can be used on structural trusses of spacecraft, on the walls of the International Space Station, and power habitats when humans explore other planets or moons. The batteries can also be used as an additional source of power for conventional homes, and be built right in to the walls.
The research has the potential to revolutionise how Nasa deals with space constraints in its satellites. The batteries have the potential of freeing up twenty to thirty five percent of the available space on satellites and other spacecraft. The batteries are made by stacking carbon fiber layers, and then sucking out the air using a vacuum pump, a process known as debulking. The researchers are trying to make the batteries impact, flame and moisture resistant, to make the batteries safe for use in a number of environments.
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