As Elon Musk’s SpaceX company was preparing to send its first manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Japan was sending its final shipment of lithium-ion batteries to the low orbit station.
The batteries, produced by GS Yuasa Technology, were aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori 9 unmanned cargo vessel launched on May 21.
The six batteries— using cells adopted in 2012 to replace nickel-metal hydride batteries— were the last batch of a total of 24 after the previous batteries were delivered to the ISS on three separate occasions.
Astronauts will replace the batteries during extravehicular activities.
Each battery is 26.3cm high, 5cm wide and 1.3cm thick and weighs 3,530 grams.
The ISS covers its energy requirements with solar power generation when there is sunlight, and uses batteries when it lies in the earth’s shadow and can’t generate solar power.
GS Yuasa Technology has supplied batteries for use in space since the 1970s, when Japan started space development. Various batteries made by the company are used in rockets and satellites.
The news comes as ResearchAndMarkets.com released a report suggesting the global space battery market would grow to reach $146million in 2023.
The report studied the space battery market from 2012 to 2017 and forecast period of 2018 to 2023.
The report looked at primary, secondary, and reserve batteries with secondary batteries dominating the market.
The space battery market is segmented into lithium-based, nickel-based, silver-zinc, and others, which exclusively consists of reserve (thermal) batteries.
The report is titled: “Space Battery Market by Platform Type, by Function Type, by Material Type, by Platform Mission Type, by Specific Energy Type and by Region, Trend, Forecast, Competitive Analysis, and Growth Opportunity: 2018-2023”.