Teledyne Awarded $4.3M NASA PEM Contract

August 11, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Teledyne Technologies Inc. (Los Angeles, CA) announced that Teledyne Energy Systems Inc. has been awarded a $4.3 million contract option to develop and deliver an "engineering model" proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power system rated at 7kW to NASA's Glenn Research Center. The 20-month option represents Phase II of Teledyne Energy Systems' contract awarded in 2001 to develop a reliable, powerful and low-maintenance fuel cell power system for use in NASA's Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program. In addition, the contract includes a second, optional, $1.2 million, advanced technology task.

The engineering model will include the PEM fuel cell power module and all related ancillary components packaged into a single power plant assembly. The power plant assembly is designed to conform to operational parameters necessary for use in Next-Generation Launch Technology vehicles, the Orbital Space Plane and the Space Shuttle. The engineering model will demonstrate key technology requirements, including the ability to meet the power profile, to operate in a space environment through testing in a thermal vacuum chamber, to operate under launch and flight conditions through testing on a vibration table, and to provide drinking water for the flight crew.

The Phase II project follows the success of the $1 million, 17-month Phase I, in which Teledyne delivered a 5kW breadboard model to NASA in early 2003. The 5kW unit is undergoing testing by NASA to evaluate its ability to respond to power profiles typical of a manned space mission. Advances over the 5kW unit planned for Phase II include the use of an upgraded fuel cell stack, improved packaging, and inclusion of an active water management system rated for microgravity use.