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Hubble performance on-orbit

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2 Author(s)
S. J. Krol ; Lockheed Martin Tech. Operations, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; G. M. Rao

A summary of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) nickel-hydrogen (NiH2) battery performance from launch to the present. Over the life of HST vehicle configuration, charge system degradation and failures, together with thermal design limitations, have had a significant effect on the capacity of HST batteries. Changes made to the charge system configuration to protect against power system failures and to maintain battery thermal stability resulted in undercharging of the batteries. This undercharging resulted in decreased usable battery capacity as well as battery cell voltage/capacity divergence. This cell divergence was made evident during on-orbit battery capacity measurements by a relatively shallow slope of the discharge curve following the discharge knee. Early efforts to improve battery performance have been successful. On-orbit capacity measurement data indicates increases in the usable battery capacity of all six batteries as well as improvements in the battery cell voltage/capacity divergence. Additional measures have been implemented to improve battery performance, however, failures within the HST Power Control Unit (PCU) have prevented verification of battery status.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 2 )