EaglePicher Batteries Power Mars MRO and Launch Vehicle
The Defense and Space Power Division of EaglePicher Technologies LLC (Phoenix, AZ) announced that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was launched aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle August 12, 2005, and is on its way to the red planet. Both vehicles are powered by EaglePicher batteries -- the 50 Ah, 11-cell, common pressure vessel, nickel-hydrogen, main power battery for the MRO as well as the 150 Ah, 28 V, silver-zinc, main power battery for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Both batteries were supplied to Lockheed Martin Space Systems (Denver, CO), the prime contractor for the MRO as well as the Atlas launch vehicle.
The launch vehicle battery provided electrical power for launch, and later separation, of the MRO satellite. The MRO satellite batteries will supply electrical power for the mission during the dark or sunless periods as the MRO travels "behind" Mars during each orbit and the spacecraft's solar panels are not exposed to sunlight.
EaglePicher Defense and Space Power Division Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Westfall stated, "We are very excited and happy to again be part of the NASA Mars Missions. Our launch battery performed beautifully and helped accomplish a flawless satellite insertion. We are also excited that our nickel-hydrogen battery is on a 288-million mile trip to Mars and we are very confident it will achieve its goals as well."