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. Saft Wins Contract To Supply LI Cells For Eurostar Sats

The rechargeable Saft Li-ion cell modules, based on high-energy VES140 and VES180 cells, provide a light and compact source of backup power to ensure continuous satellite operations when their solar panels are in eclipse.
by Staff Writers
Baltimore Md. (SPX) Feb 10, 2006
Saft has signed a long-term agreement with EADS Astrium to supply exclusively on-board lithium-ion cell modules for all Astrium Eurostar geosynchronous-orbit communications satellites over the next four years.

The agreement results from the cooperation between Saft and EADS Astrium over the last decade, which the company said has led to the qualification of a complete product range and successful in-orbit operation of lithium-ion batteries for GEO applications.

The rechargeable Saft Li-ion cell modules, based on high-energy VES140 and VES180 cells, provide a light and compact source of backup power to ensure continuous satellite operations when their solar panels are in eclipse.

This is the first of three contracts already signed under the agreement, which Saft said are worth a total of about 2.5 million euros.

Onboard electronic systems on GEO satellites usually rely on solar panels for electric power, but twice each year, during the equinoxes - around March 21 and September 21 - the panels fall into Earth's shadow, with no direct sunlight.

During these periods, which last around 22 days each, onboard batteries must provide sufficient power to ensure the satellite's uninterrupted operations, over a service life of up to 15 years.

Rather than using nickel-cadmium or nickel-hydrogen battery systems for onboard power, Saft's Li-ion battery technology, which has the capability to store the same amount of energy as a Ni-H2 battery in a smaller package, offering a weight saving of around 50 percent.

This will enable both EADS Astrium and the satellite operator to utilize more of the satellite's crucial overall mass to carry a larger operational payload, the company said.

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Cambridge MA (SPX) Feb 08, 2006
Just about everything that runs on batteries -- flashlights, cell phones, electric cars, missile-guidance systems -- would be improved with a better energy supply. But traditional batteries haven't progressed far beyond the basic design developed by Alessandro Volta in the 19th century.

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