Applications and Mission History
Super NiCd™ batteries have demonstrated a wide range of applications for long mission life and high reliability for more than 15 years. Space applications range from a lunar orbiting spacecraft utilizing a 5 Ah 28-volt battery operated at 50% to 60% depth-of-discharge to a Tropical Rainfall Mapping Mission (TRMM) that is powered during the night portion of its low earth orbit by two 28-volt 50 Ah batteries. Critical missions like Gravity Probe-B, which was first conceived over 50 years ago and waited for innovative technology, materials, and manufacturing processes to produce the spacecraft that could successfully complete this mission, operates with two 28-volt 35 Ah Super NiCd batteries. Twenty-nine successful missions have utilized Super NiCd batteries, including geostationary communication and weather spacecraft, low earth orbit including Space Station Freedom, and science missions to the moon and a near earth asteroid rendezvous.
Contained within this paper is a brief summary of what a Super NiCd battery is and its performance attributes. An overview will be given on space missions where Super NiCd batteries have been used as the spacecraft energy storage system. Data will be presented that demonstrates cycle life and battery reliability for mission success.