Boeing 787 Batteries Made by Same Company Making Them for ISS

Boeing 787 Batteries Made by Same Company Making Them for ISS

Government Executive (GovExec) reports that the same company that makes the troublesome lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners is under contract to make them for use on the International Space Station (ISS), too.  NASA says the ISS batteries are a different configuration, however, and rigorously designed.

Bob Brewin of GovExec’s NextGov website wrote yesterday that GS Yuasa Lithium Power Inc. of Roswell, GA, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s GS Yuasa, supplies the Li-Ion batteries for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets and is under contract to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to provide Li-Ion batteries for the ISS.  They will replace nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used.

Boeing’s Dreamliners have been grounded worldwide after one of the batteries started a fire in a Japan Airlines jet parked at Boston’s Logan Airport last week and this week a Japanese All Nippon Airways jet had to make an emergency landing in Japan after the pilots smelled something burning.   Preliminary indications reportedly are that one of the batteries was operating at a voltage above its design limit.

In an e-mailed statement to today, NASA confirmed that GS Yuasa is designing and developing Li-ion batteries for use on the ISS under contract to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.   However, NASA public affairs officer Josh Byerly said that “they are a different configuration than those used on the Boeing 787” and “the entire battery assembly has been through a rigorous design and development process for the space environment.  The design has been carefully implemented to mitigate and contain the potential hazards of Li-Ion cells.”

Byerly added that NASA  is in “close communication with Boeing, the FAA, and the cell manufacturer on the ongoing failure analysis, and will apply any relevant lessons learned as appropriate.”

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