What benefits does the European Battery Test Centre deliver?
In operation since 1978, the European Space Battery Test Centre has become the leading facility of its kind in Europe, validating energy storage technology well in advance of its use in actual space programmes.
It has a privileged independent position, providing services for many external customers including national space agencies, ESA prime contractors and battery manufacturers.
The Test Centre has a great deal of experience in troubleshooting for missions in flight, contributing battery data in support of retrieving the Olympus and SOHO missions. It also developed a mathematical model of Mars Express's battery that helped demonstrate ESA's first Mars orbiter was in suitable health to receive a mission extension.
Its work to qualify space batteries also supports missions to come, including the Galileo navigation satellite system, the Alphasat communication satellite and the forthcoming Sentinel Earth-monitoring series.
The Test Centre discovered anomalies in the prototype Proba-2 battery at an early stage, its findings leading to subsequent modifications. Characterisation of lithium-ion batteries for the ExoMars mission have helped optimise the rover's electrical and thermal battery management design, avoiding premature degradation due to high charging at low temperatures. Ongoing battery life tests are so far meeting previously-modelled parameters, and appear to validate the proposed battery's ability to meet nominal life requirements.
Last update: 10 September 2009