Solid-state batteries in space

Japanese scientists are about to launch solid-state batteries into space.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to install a solid-state battery at the International Space Station this fall.

Cold temperatures can reduce battery performance, but it remains unclear how batteries will fare in extreme space conditions. This is why JAXA called for research proposals in 2016 and chose to cooperate with Hitachi Zosen to develop a solid-state battery that can operate in space.

JAXA will send the solid-state battery to the ISS and attach it the IVA-replaceable Small Exposed Experiment Platform (i-SEEP) on the outside of the “Kibo” Japanese research module. The team will conduct tests for six months to gain conclusive data on the performance of the solid-state battery.

JAXA will use 140 mAh batteries for the test. They will be connected with 15 cells to create a 2.1 Ah power supply. If successful, the batteries will be a lot easier to handle in space, because they won’t need thick temperature protection shields. This could help to miniaturize and lighten battery designs.

In addition, the batteries won’t require heating, which could improve the power consumption of battery-powered equipment in space. The team hopes to eventually use the technology to power Lunar and Mars rovers, as well as observation equipment.

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