Performance Characteristics of Lithium-Ion Cells for NASA’s Mars 2001 Lander Application 1999-01-2638
NASA requires lightweight rechargeable batteries for future missions to Mars and the outer planets that are capable of operating over a wide range of temperatures, with high specific energy and energy densities. Due to the attractive performance characteristics, lithium-ion batteries have been identified as the battery chemistry of choice for a number of future applications, including Mars rovers and landers. The Mars 2001 Lander (Mars Surveyor Program MSP 01) will be among one of the first missions which will utilize lithium-ion technology. This application will require two lithium-ion batteries, each being 28 V (eight cells), 25 Ah and 8 kg. In addition to the requirement of being able to supply at least 200 cycles and 90 days of operation upon the surface of Mars, the battery must be capable of operation (both charge and discharge) at temperatures as low as -20°C. To assess the viability of lithium-ion cells for these applications, a number of performance characterization tests have been performed, including: assessing the room temperature cycle life, low temperature cycle life (-20°C), rate capability as a function of temperature, pulse capability, self-discharge and storage characteristics, as well as, mission profile capability. This paper will describe the Mars 2001 Lander mission battery requirements and will contain results of the cell testing conducted to-date in support of the mission.