KYOTO — The final shipment of lithium-ion batteries made by a company in western Japan were sent to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori 9 unmanned cargo vessel launched on May 21.
The batteries, produced by GS Yuasa Technology based in the Kyoto Prefecture city of Fukuchiyama, were adopted in 2012 to replace nickel-metal hydride batteries, and 18 of them had already been delivered to the ISS on three separate occasions. The six batteries sent on May 21 are the last batch to be sent. Astronauts will replace the batteries during extravehicular activities.
Each battery measures 26.3 centimeters in height, 5 centimeters in width and 1.3 centimeters in thickness, and weighs 3,530 grams. The batteries have a higher energy density than the conventional ones, making it possible to cut the total number of batteries from 48 to 24.
The company’s batteries are also used in the Kounotori. The ISS covers its energy requirements with solar power generation when there is sunlight, and uses batteries when it lies in the earth’s shadow and can’t generate solar power.
GS Yuasa Technology has supplied batteries for use in space since the 1970s, when Japan started space development. Various batteries made by the company are used in rockets and satellites.
(Japanese original by Yasuhiro Okawa, Kyoto Bureau)