The Fastest Ever: EnerSys Helps Power NASA’s Parker Solar Probe
As the global leader in energy storage solutions EnerSys Vision is to Power the Future – Everywhere for Everyone. Sometimes this means providing the most reliable technology for missions that are literally out of this world.
An example in which EnerSys is pushing the boundaries of human accomplishment is through our space power business, which supplied a lithium-ion battery for use on NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – now the world’s fastest human-made object.
The probe was built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and it launched in August of 2018, carrying advanced instruments that take detailed measurements of the Sun. The purpose of the probe and the associated space mission is to advance scientists’ understanding of the Sun’s processes of heating the corona (the star’s outer atmosphere) and accelerating solar wind, which can have impacts on Earth, its magnetic field and human-made objects in orbit and on the surface.
The Parker Solar Probe is the fastest object ever built by mankind and will reach top speeds of nearly 430,000 miles per hour (690,000 kilometers per hour) in its final orbits in 2025. Its heat shield must withstand temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, as the probe will be the first mission to “touch the Sun” by dipping into the corona. Because of these extreme conditions, the EnerSys supplied lithium ion battery, which powers the probe’s flight and scientific instrumentation, underwent rigorous mechanical and thermal testing to ensure it will be able to provide reliable energy for the duration of the mission.
“We are very proud of our multiyear involvement in the Parker Solar Probe mission and the important data that the mission will deliver,” commented Mark Matthews, Senior Vice President of EnerSys Specialty Global division. Matthews added, “Our ability to support this mission is a credit to our constant drive for engineering excellence in balancing demanding requirements such as deep discharges, longer cycle life, unique battery shapes, and packaging to survive intense vibration environments.”
EnerSys is proud to partner with and provide energy storage solutions to organizations that are leading the way in making scientific discoveries and advancements that will propel the world into a more sustainable future.
An Artist’s concept of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. Launched in 2018, the Parker Solar Probe is providing new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth. Creator: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben