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.
Last updated: November