Written by Maria Beck
In a few weeks, a shuttle with equipment for a new mission in space will launch to the International Space Station (ISS). On board will be a lithium-ion polymer battery from VARTA Storage. This is already the second time VARTA batteries have gone into space. After all, it was a VARTA battery that provided the energy in Neil Armstrong’s camera when he became the first human to set foot on the moon in 1969.
One of the aims of this new mission, which involves several astronauts spending around six months on board the ISS, is to produce important findings by continuously monitoring the crew’s health. The customized energy solution that the subsidiary VARTA Storage developed specially for the mission supplies the energy needed for a device that measures the astronauts’ muscle tension.
“We are very proud that our battery solution has been selected for the space mission,” says Herbert Schein, CEO of VARTA AG. “The demands on a battery for a space mission are very high. It has to withstand extraordinary conditions, so we are delighted we can contribute to the success of the mission.”
Before receiving approval for the ISS mission, the VARTA Easy Pack XL underwent a year of comprehensive testing. The battery from the long-standing company VARTA AG proved superior to the battery packs from other manufacturers in the selection process, which was designed to eliminate any safety risk to the crew on board the International Space Station and ensure reliable measurements despite the exceptional circumstances.
The batteries are part of MyotonS, an ISS experiment supported by the Space Administration section of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The aim of the research project is to investigate muscle wasting in humans under weightless conditions. The VARTA battery’s part in this is to supply energy to the MyotonPRO device. The initiators hope the results of the study will provide a deeper understanding of the human muscular system. VARTA Storage developed the battery solution for MyotonPRO together with Dutch company Texim Europe.
The tests on the batteries were conducted in collaboration with aerospace specialist OHB System AG and included subjecting the batteries to strong vibrations and negative pressure to ensure they would not leak. In the end, they confirmed that the VARTA Easy Pack XL meets NASA safety requirements and exhibits an impressive level of reliability. It can therefore fly into space in the name of science in 2018.
About VARTA AG
As the parent company of the Group, VARTA AG is active in the business segments Microbatteries and Power & Energy through its operating subsidiaries VARTA Microbattery GmbH and VARTA Storage GmbH. Already today an innovation leader in the microbattery sector and one of the market leaders for hearing-aid microbatteries, VARTA Microbattery GmbH also aspires to market leadership for lithium-ion batteries in wearables and particularly headphones. VARTA Storage GmbH focuses on intelligent energy solutions for customized battery storage systems for OEM customers and the design, system integration and assembly of stationary lithium-ion energy storage systems. The VARTA AG Group’s operating subsidiaries are currently active in more than 75 countries around the world, with five production and assembly facilities in Europe and Asia as well as distribution centers in Asia, Europe and the United States.