Orbitalâ€™s First Use of a Lithium-ion Battery for a Space Launch System
Online PR News – 22-June-2012 – Sylmar, Calif. – Quallion, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium ion storage systems, assisted in the June 13, 2012 launch of Orbital Sciences Corporationâ€™s PegasusÂ® rocket carrying the Nuclear Spectroscopic Array Telescope (NuSTAR) satellite for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
This is the 27th consecutive successful mission for the Pegasus program over a 15-year period, the first time Orbital Sciences Corporation has ever used a Li ion battery on its space launch systems, and Quallionâ€™s first launch on a PegasusÂ® rocket.
Quallion supplied Orbital Sciences Corporation with custom designed rechargeable 28V battery packs, three of which are utilized on the PegasusÂ® rocket to power launch vehicle avionics during flight.
â€śThis battery is designed to power critical flight systems, and this launch demonstrates the potential for lithium ion batteries to safely and reliably operate in a very challenging launch environment.â€ť said Paul Beach, president of Quallion LLC. â€śWeâ€™re proud to be a part of this effort to expand human knowledge of the cosmos.â€ť
NASA will use the NuStar to detect black holes and other energetic phenomena in the universe with the purpose of expanding our understanding of the origins and life cycles of stars and galaxies. The Pegasus/NuSTAR mission originated from the U.S. Armyâ€™s Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll. Following a one-hour preplanned positioning flight, the Pegasus rocket was released from Orbitalâ€™s L-1011 carrier aircraft at approximately 12:00 p.m. (EDT). After a 13-minute powered flight sequence, Pegasus launched the 770 lb. NuSTAR satellite into its targeted circular orbit approximately 400 miles above the Earth.
About Quallion LLC
The U.S. based company designs, fabricates and manufactures state-of-the-art lithium ion cells and battery packs, and develops new battery chemistries for the military, aerospace, medical and automotive industries. Building on its legacy leadership position in the medical device industry, the company has developed a range of novel enabling technologies that include the worldâ€™s smallest implantable secondary battery and the proprietary Zero-Voltâ„˘ and SaFE-LYTEâ„˘ technologies. Leveraging its core engineering capabilities, Quallion has established itself as a leader in applications where advanced battery technology, safety, reliability and custom engineering are most valued. Quallion LLC was founded in 1998 by biotechnology and aerospace entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann. For more information about Quallion, visit www.quallion.com.
About the NuSTAR Mission
During its mission, NuSTAR will use high-energy x-rays to detect black holes and other energetic phenomena in the universe with the purpose of expanding our understanding of the origins and destinies of stars and galaxies. NuSTAR will have more than one hundred times the sensitivity of previous instruments to detect black holes and will be the first focusing hard x-ray telescope in space.
The NuSTAR satellite project is led by Dr. Fiona Harrison, the missionâ€™s Principal Investigator from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). It is part of NASAâ€™s Small Explorer (SMEX) series that is managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center for NASAâ€™s Science Mission Directorate. These low-cost, highly effective small satellite missions have enabled scientists to gather critical data about the Earthâ€™s environment, the solar system and beyond. In addition to Caltech, NASAâ€™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is one of Orbitalâ€™s key mission partners on the NuSTAR project.
Orbital provided a comprehensive mission support combination for the NuSTAR mission, including performing overall system integration of the payload with the companyâ€™s LEOStar-2 satellite platform, and conducting the launch operations with its Pegasus air-launched rocket.
About the Pegasus Rocket
Pegasus is the worldâ€™s leading launch system for the deployment of small satellites into low-Earth orbit. Its patented air-launch system, in which the rocket is launched from beneath Orbitalâ€™s â€śStargazerâ€ť L-1011 carrier aircraft over the ocean, reduces cost and provides customers with unparalleled flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements. The NuSTAR launch from Kwajalein is an example of its unrivaled mission versatility. It remains the worldâ€™s only small space launch vehicle that is certified with NASAâ€™s Payload Risk Category 3, which the space agency reserves for its highest value space missions.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The companyâ€™s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.