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Taking Charge

In this week's image MESSENGER engineers install the spare flight battery, which will provide power to the spacecraft's systems and instruments through the next several months of operational and environmental testing at the Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Until now, the team had been using a temporary, external "workhorse" battery to power MESSENGER's onboard operations.

(Click here for large [444 KB] and small [196 KB] time-lapse movies of the battery's installation.)

The spare battery is fully flight-qualified; the team would be able to use it on MESSENGER if something happened to the actual flight battery before launch. Both are 20-Ah (ampere hour) common-pressure-vessel nickel-hydrogen types, consisting of 22 individual cells tied together in pairs. The team plans to install the flight battery during final prelaunch preparations at Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, next spring.

 

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Last updated: November 26, 2003


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