Boeing problems have shown that lithium-ion batteries are not suitable for large scale applications. Still, NASA decided that this type of battery is best suited for the International Space Station.Cells of this type are also used in smartphones.
As the New Scientist reports, the US space agency plans to install such batteries on the ISS because it believes they are ideal because of the low weight and performance of lithium-ion technology, which is much higher than the current nickel- Metal-hydride batteries currently used at the station.
Josh Byerly, a spokesman for NASA, points out that greater battery performance can not be ignored. Thanks to technology, it will be possible to reduce the weight by as much as half, which in this case is of great importance, since the orbit of every kilogram of charge is very expensive.
NASA obviously is aware of the problems Boeing has with batteries, which is also one of the main ISS contactors, so the battery assembly will be entrusted to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a subcontractor who will ensure that the batteries are fully safe.
Designed batteries will therefore have to undergo very rigorous testing first. Additional security will be the installation of batteries outside the working area of astronauts, so that in the event of a failure, they will not expose their lives.
And what happens when the batteries overheat? Byerly assures that the risk of such an event is minimal.