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Aerospace Flywheel Development

Added on: March 3rd, 2012 by Afsal Meerankutty No Comments

Presently, energy storage on the Space Station and satellites is accomplished using chemical batteries; most commonly nickel hydrogen or nickel cadmium. A flywheel energy storage system is an alternative technology that is being considered for future space missions. Flywheels offer the advantage of a longer lifetime, higher efficiency and a greater depth of discharge than batteries. A flywheel energy storage system is being considered as a replacement for the traditional electrochemical battery system in spacecraft electrical power systems. The flywheel system is expected to improve both the depth of discharge and working life by a factor of 3 compared with its battery counterpart. Although flywheels have always been used in spacecraft navigation and guidance systems, their use for energy storage is new. However, the two functions can easily be combined into a single system. Several advanced technologies must be demonstrated for the flywheel energy storage system to be a viable option for future space missions. These include high strength composite materials, highly efficient high speed motor operation and control, and magnetic bearing levitation.

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