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International Space Station power reinitialization

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3 Author(s)

The photovoltaic (PV) module on the International Space Station (ISS) has been operating since November 2000 and supporting electric power demands of the ISS and its crew of three. The PV module contains photovoltaic arrays that convert solar energy to electrical power, and an integrated equipment assembly (IEA) that houses electrical hardware and batteries for electric power regulation and storage. Each PV module contains two independent power channels for fault tolerance. Each power channel contains three batteries in parallel to meet its performance requirements and for fault tolerance. Each battery consists of 76 Nickel-Hydrogen (Ni-H2) cells in series. These 76 cells are contained in two orbital replaceable units (ORU) connected in series. On-orbit data are monitored and trended to ensure that all hardware is operating normally. Review of on-orbit data showed that while five batteries are operating very well, one is showing signs of mismatched ORUs. The cell pressure in the two ORUs differs by an amount that exceeds the recommended range. The reason for this abnormal behavior may be that the two ORUs have a different use history. An assessment was performed and it was determined that capacity of this battery would be limited by the lower pressure ORU. Steps are being taken to reduce this pressure differential before battery capacity drops to the point of affecting its ability to meet performance requirements. As a first step, a battery reinitialization procedure was developed to reduce this pressure differential. The procedure was successfully carried out on-orbit and the pressure differential was reduced to the recommended range. This paper describes the battery performance and the consequences of mismatched ORUs that make a battery. The paper also describes the re-initialization procedure, how it was performed on-orbit, and battery performance after the re-initialization. On-orbit data monitoring and trending is an ongoing activity, and will continue as ISS assembly progresses.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

April 2003

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