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Lithium-ion batteries enable sun study

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS)

Lithium-ion batteries from Yardney Technical Products are powering an image spectrograph that has been sent into space to capture images and data on the movements of the sun’s material.

There is one 28V lithium-ion battery in the 30-Ah system with a battery management system (BMS) to monitor the cell temperature throughout the battery to ensure it functions in stellar conditions, as well as monitoring charging and cell balancing to ensure functionality.

The mission is planned to last for two years, but as an unmanned vessel, it will most likely last longer. The on-board system is based upon Yardney’s battery designs from the Mars Rover and Phoenix Mars Lander missions.

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) observatory has returned important information from the sun’s lower atmosphere as part of NASA’s small explorers programme.

IRIS is on a polar orbit of the sun to capture images using a multi-channel imaging spectrograph with a 20cm UV telescope to observe the sun. The intention is to gather information on the interface between the photosphere and the corona to give scientists a better understanding of solar winds and coronal mass ejections.