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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

SPHERES/Universal ISS Battery Charging Station

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

SPHERES/Universal ISS Battery Charging Station
With the retiring of the shuttle fleet, up-mass and down-mass to ISS are at a premium. The space station itself has a limited lifecycle as well, thus long-term and/or high-risk development programs pose issues for science 'return on investment', if the technology cannot be adequately matured before the station is decommissioned. Thus innovative systems and technologies that minimize impact on limiting resources such as up-mass and down-mass, and can do so in the near- to mid-term, are highly desirable. One such area includes the various rechargeable battery systems on ISS used extensively for cameras, camcorders, laptops, communication systems and other portable science and diagnostic equipment. All new rechargeable batteries intended for use on ISS must undergo an extensive and costly qualification process, to ensure they meet safety criteria for charge, discharge, short-circuit, temperature, containment and other parameters. The associated recharging systems must also undergo rigorous safety analysis before obtaining flight approval. To alleviate this requirement, new battery powered equipment for ISS is often selected based on legacy technology already approved for crewed-space applications, and not on operational need. The use of shared battery resources (battery packs, battery chargers or both), for future ISS payloads could reduce or eliminate the time and cost needed to obtain battery system safety approval, and reduce the burden on valuable up-mass resources. A common (universal) battery charging system for ISS, with the flexibility to accommodate current and future rechargeable battery requirements for payloads and equipment, could reduce the cost use of the ISS by future payload developers. This would not only simplify the safety and integration process for these programs, but also reduce up-mass by making use of existing ISS resources. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.