European Space Battery Test Centre Laboratory
What is it for?
ESA's European Space Battery Test Centre tests and characterises virtually all space batteries or component cells used or planned for use by European space missions. It is the leading European facility of its kind and since 1992 it has included a Fuel Test Cell Facility.
Batteries are an essential technology for space. The store of onboard power they offer can be vital for keeping missions operational in all circumstances.
Most spacecraft rely on solar panels, but their power subsystem also includes a 'secondary' battery which works like the battery on a car, keeping itself charged from the output of the solar array but ready to discharge when the satellite experiences high power demands, performs a manoeuvre, passes into shadow or enters an emergency scenario.
For other space hardware solar panels are impractical and 'primary' non-rechargeable batteries are the sole power source, such as the brief but crucial flights of Ariane launchers or Foton capsules used for orbital microgravity experiments.
Last update: 4 September 2013