A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
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Batteries Included

A reliable battery system is critical to the success of any solar-powered spacecraft. A temporary "workhorse" battery currently supplies power to MESSENGER; the actual flight battery is being assembled and will be installed just before environmental testing. By using a temporary battery now, the team makes sure the flight model is fresh and ready to last through the mission.

The newly installed duct seen in the above image supplies cool air to the temporary battery (hidden behind the spacecraft), keeping it at a safe working temperature while the MESSENGER team tests the spacecraft's onboard electrical systems. MESSENGER's flight battery is 20-Ah (ampere hour) common-pressure-vessel nickel-hydrogen type similar to that on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. It consists of 22 individual cells tied together in pairs; it looks like 11 side-by-side pairs of 1-liter soda bottles with rabbit-ear contacts sticking out of the top.

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Last updated: September 10, 2003

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