NASA has selected selected Boston-Power’s Swing battery system (earlier post) as a part of Project M—a proposed project to land an operational humanoid robot on the moon in 1,000 days. The project derives its name from the Roman numeral for 1,000: M.
Boston-Power’s battery technology platform is based on a flat, oval-shaped prismatic cell design with external dimensions equivalent to two conventional 18650 lithium-ion cells. The Swing battery features high energy density (180 Wh/kg) and volumetric density (420 Wh/L) combined with long life, safety, reliability, environmental sustainability and price/performance. Boston-Power is targeting Swing battery systems at Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Utility Energy Storage applications.
Boston-Power’s batteries will provide power for the robot, known as Robonaut 2 or R2, a highly dexterous human-like robot designed to work alongside humans as a robotic assistant. R2, developed jointly by NASA and General Motors to support astronauts working in dangerous environments and on repetitious tasks (earlier post), is capable of performing a wide range of human skills and motions, and is the second generation of humanoid robots created for space travel. Along with the R2 robots involved with Project M, separate robots are expected to launch on the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission planned for later this year.
Boston-Power is delivering a 2.5kWh energy storage system which includes its Swing cells as well as an integrated battery management system. The entire battery system will deliver industry-leading high energy density, along with extended cycle and calendar life at a wide operating temperature range, to meet the weight, space and flight requirements of the pack.
As part of this initiative, Boston-Power and NASA have entered into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) for the development of an advanced, environmentally sustainable lithium-ion battery pack capable of being mass produced for NASA performance and proof-of-concept testing activities. The packs will be tested at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas, for possible integration into an advanced space vehicle as part of the Lunar Lander project.