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Potentially Game-Changing U.S.-Made Batteries Are Successfully Launched Into Space

You’ve probably heard of all kind of things (and creatures) being launched into space for testing purposes, for a wide range of research projects, including medical ones. This time, we’re talking about batteries being sent to space, for performance tests. Not just any batteries, but ones that could help change today’s battery industry.
These innovative space batteries were integrated on a satellite that was carried by the SpaceX Transporter-2 7 photos
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On June 20, 2021, the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare mission was successfully launched. One of the satellites that were part of the cargo was Lemur-2, developed by Spire Global, a provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services. What’s special about this satellite is that it integrated innovative Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The objective is to monitor and establish their electrical performance in the space environment, and that’s part of their overall qualification process.

There are two things that make these batteries particularly important. The first is that they are the first space batteries to be manufactured with the Particle Atomic Layer Deposition (PALD/ALD) technology.

Forge Nano, the Colorado-based company that created them, specialized in precision nano-coating technology, and has developed its proprietary PALD technology. What this does is make batteries survive longer and perform better in various circumstances. This type of coating also works with most cathodes, anodes, separators, and solid-state battery materials, which makes it very versatile, while also being cost-effective.

The second thing is that these batteries are mostly made with U.S.-sourced materials. And, if you’re familiar with what the battery industry has been going through this year, this is a significant factor. And another first – no other space batteries have been made using mostly U.S. materials, until now. Spokane-based Pyrotek has provided the domestically sourced anode material, in combination with the cathode material from Forge Nano.

Last but not least, the ZeroVolt technology developed by EnerSys also contributed to the performance of the space battery cells, by optimizing energy density, low-temperature performance and cycle life stability.

By sending these batteries into space, integrated within the Lemur-2 satellite, Forge Nano hopes to collect more performance data that will help advance the used of this technology in the space industry. And that’s just the beginning, as other commercial applications will follow, with the objective of establishing “a fully integrated US battery supply chain”.

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