As long as space flight has existed, satellites and other space vehicles have carried rechargeable batteries to store electrical energy. While this reality remains constant, the space industry has undergone tremendous change and now demands significant performance improvements from battery systems. Today, spacecraft range in scope from small, cost-effective pico- and microsatellites that orbit Earth in a relatively low orbit to massive geostationary communications satellite systems. Since the primary role of batteries in these craft is to provide power when the Earth’s shadow blocks the satellite’s exposure to the Sun, the performance demands vary significantly depending on the orbit and power needs of the satellite.
Satellites are employed by three key segments of the space industry. Civil space programs (of which NASA is the world’s largest) employ spacecraft to advance space science, pursue exploration and scientific sensing, and improve communications. Military missions pursue such strategic objectives as surveillance, reconnaissance, mapping, weather, and missile defense. Lastly, the commercial sector depends upon satellites to provide communications and allow distribution of television, radio, and other media. All of these sectors have significantly different needs and priorities regarding batteries.
Quallion is uniquely positioned to offer battery solutions to the satellite market. Our lithium ion technology delivers unsurpassed energy density, a critical factor for any customer seeking a power solution for small spacecraft or needing to shift more of the satellite mass from battery to payload. On a large communications or military satellite, the decision to go with Li-ion could reduce mass by hundreds of pounds and allow more strategic or revenue-producing payload. In addition, Quallion is uniquely positioned to satisfy aerospace and military customers with high reliability requirements thanks to our rigorous materials control, which eliminates even the subtlest variations in future cell builds. Lastly, Quallion has a far deeper understanding of lithium ion chemistry than any other aerospace battery company.
Quallion has achieved significant breakthroughs in Li ion battery technology that now deliver critical performance for space satellite systems:
Late in 2006, Quallion was awarded a Title III program from the U.S. government to domestically produce the cathode and anode materials used in large satellite cells. Title III also requires Quallion to set up a large cell manufacturing line. Soon, no other space satellite battery manufacturer will be able to offer its customers a cradle-to-grave battery solution, in which cell and battery production will be controlled in one facility. This means Quallion will be able to ensure its customers a fully qualified product for the next 20-30 years.
Quallion can deliver battery solutions for satellite applications with two distinct approaches. First, Quallion can create a battery with its own design and materials, which enables fully customizable solutions for any specifications and takes full advantage of our specialized materials control. This option also enables customers to leverage Quallion’s patented Zero-Volt technology, which allows long storage periods in a deep discharged state with no permanent capacity loss. As an alternate approach, customers can choose Quallion’s proprietary Matrix system, which simultaneously links commercial-grade cells in parallel and series. This innovation greatly reduces cost, increases flexibility, and is highly scaleable.