Saft achieves major space milestones with 165 satellites equipped and Singapore’s TeLEOS-1 powered with VES16 Li-ion battery systems

TeLEOS-1 is the first satellite in orbit to be powered by Saft’s new design VES16 batteries.

Paris, February 1st, 2016 – Saft, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, achieved two major space milestones in December 2015 as its VES16 Li-ion (lithium-ion) batteries made a successful launch onboard TeLEOS-1, Singapore’s first commercial Near Equatorial Orbit (NEqO) earth observation satellite. First, TeLEOS-1 gave an orbital debut to the new VES16 battery concept developed specifically for low earth orbit (LEO) applications. Second, with 165 satellites launched, representing a cumulative capacity of over 2 MWh in orbit, Saft has now taken the number one position in Li-ion satellite battery technology.

TeLEOS-1, built by Singapore Technologies Electronics (STEE), was launched on December 16, 2015 by the PSLV-CA rocket from Sriharikota, the launch pad in southern India. Operating at an altitude of 550 kilometres, TeLEOS-1 is designed to complement earth observation satellites in more traditional sun-synchronous orbits. It offers 1 metre high resolution satellite imagery, focusing on a band of the surface close to the equator with a revisit time of around half a day. This provides decision makers and users with convenient access to high temporal imagery and geospatial solutions to respond to time sensitive events, such as homeland security and border control, maritime situation awareness, and disaster monitoring and management by focusing on a band of the surface close to the equator.

TeLEOS-1 is designed around the three-axis stabilized SS-400 satellite bus, with a design lifespan of five years. It is powered by four solar panels, however during the 35-minute eclipse periods of its 90-minute orbit, the satellite will rely on its onboard battery system.TeLEOS-1 is the first satellite to be launched with Saft’s new VES16 batteries – it has two battery packs, each comprising 40 cells in a 8S5P (8 series connected cells in 5 parallel strings) configuration - providing a nominal 45 Ah capacity and 29 V.

VES16 – a dedicated cell design for LEO applications
The VES16 cylindrical cell has been developed in Saft’s Poitiers plant in France with the support of CNES (National French Space Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency) to create a low capacity space cell dedicated for low earth orbit (LEO) applications, with the specific aim of reducing the critical weight of the satellite. This cell uses the same NCA electrochemistry as the largest energy cells (VES140 and VES180) that have already demonstrated their capabilities on many GEO, MEO and LEO satellites. The VES16 is designed to meet the challenging demands of cycling in low earth orbit missions, namely more than 60,000 cycles for duration of 12 years with very high DOD (depth of discharge) up to 40 percent. This 4.5 Ah cell has successfully passed the specific qualification tests for use in space environments for missions requiring reliable battery power over several years.

In addition to the TeLEOS 1 success, the remarkable performance of the VES16 batteries has enabled Saft to increase its share of the LEO market with contracts for the Iridium Next constellation, Myriade Evolutions CNES satellites and also Meteosat 3rd generation MTG family (6 satellites) in GEO Geosynchronous Orbit for ESA. Currently, more than 110 satellites powered with VES16 batteries are either under construction or waiting for the launch.

“Our VES16 batteries passed all their stringent qualification tests for LEO missions with success. The flight experience gained in their first mission on the TeLEOS-1 satellite is the last key step for the VES16 design as it will provide an important reference for their performance and lifetime advantages,” said Annie Sennet, Saft’s Space and Defense Director.