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SPHERES/Universal ISS Battery Charging Station

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
4 Cambridge Center 11th Floor Cambridge, MA 02142-1494
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: SPHERES/Universal ISS Battery Charging Station
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CF86P
Award Amount: $99,956.00


With the retiring of the shuttle fleet, up-mass and down-mass to ISS are at a premium. The space station itself has a limited lifecycle as well, thus long-term and/or high-risk development programs pose issues for science 'return on investment', if the technology cannot be adequately matured before the station is decommissioned. Thus innovative systems and technologies that minimize impact on limiting resources such as up-mass and down-mass, and can do so in the near- to mid-term, are highly desirable. One such area includes the various rechargeable battery systems on ISS used extensively for cameras, camcorders, laptops, communication systems and other portable science and diagnostic equipment.All new rechargeable batteries intended for use on ISS must undergo an extensive and costly qualification process, to ensure they meet safety criteria for charge, discharge, short-circuit, temperature, containment and other parameters. The associated recharging systems must also undergo rigorous safety analysis before obtaining flight approval. To alleviate this requirement, new battery powered equipment for ISS is often selected based on legacy technology already approved for crewed-space applications, and not on operational need. The use of shared battery resources (battery packs, batterychargers or both), for future ISS payloads could reduce or eliminate the time and cost needed to obtain battery system safety approval, and reduce the burden on valuable up-mass resources. A common (universal) battery charging system for ISS, with the flexibility to accommodate current and future rechargeable battery requirements for payloads and equipment, could reduce the cost use of the ISS by future payload developers. This would not only simplify the safety and integration process for these programs, but also reduce up-mass by making use of existing ISS resources.

Principal Investigator:

John Merk
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Scott Hart
Financial Analyst
Small Business Information at Submission:

Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
9950 Wakeman Drive Manassas, VA -

EIN/Tax ID: 541502935
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No