Aerojet Rocketdyne Designing New Lithium Ion Batteries for ISS


Although they are not going up on the next flight, a GenCorp press release details the plan for qualifying and installing entirely new batteries for the International Space Station.

As the largest solar power platform in orbit, generating up to 90 kilowatts of power, the International Space Station itself is a living laboratory for testing and improving long duration space systems, and one of the key components is the energy storage system comprised of 48 nickel-hydrogen batteries which supply electrical power as the station travels into darkness for 35 minutes of its 90 minute orbit.

The battery cells are actually supplied by GS-Yuasa Lithium Power, which originally contracted with Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne,  now of Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  Based in Japan, GS-Yuasa also provides lithium-ion batteries for each of the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo vessels, as well as somewhat infamously, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.


Aerojet Rocketdyne Press Release:

Aerojet Rocketdyne Completes Critical Design Review on Lithium Ion Battery Orbital Unit

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today that it has completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for a Lithium Ion battery Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU), which will continue to give astronauts the power they need to conduct important research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Lithium Ion batteries, which will replace the aging Nickel Hydrogen (Ni-H2) batteries presently on the ISS, will also provide a more efficient form of energy storage.

“The successful execution of this review verifies that the ORU meets all design, operational and performance requirements,” said Larry Trager, director of Advanced Power Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “We are now ready to begin assembly and testing of the Qualification ORU so astronauts who call ISS their home—both from the U.S. and allied countries—can continue to have electricity to conduct important experiments vital to our understanding of life here on Earth and in space.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne will build a total of 31 Lithium Ion battery ORUs which include two engineering units, two qualification units and 27 flight units. Twenty-four of the Aerojet Rocketdyne Lithium Ion batteries will replace all 48 existing Ni-H2 batteries, and will be installed on the Electrical Power System which supplies power to the ISS. The batteries will result in nearly one-half of the launch mass and approximately 1.5 times more energy storage capability.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at and


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