Saft lithium-ion batteries power Horizons-2 communications satellite

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 16 May 2008



(2008), "Saft lithium-ion batteries power Horizons-2 communications satellite", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Saft lithium-ion batteries power Horizons-2 communications satellite

Article Type: Equipment and software From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 3.

Saft lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology is powering the new Horizons-2 GEO satellite launched by an Ariane 5 GS launch vehicle from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Horizons-2, based on Orbital Sciences Corporation's STAR-2 platform, is the 6th Orbital satellite in orbit to feature Saft Li-ion batteries.

“The successful launch of Horizons-2 marks the 19th spacecraft to rely on Saft Li-ion batteries,” said Thomas Alcide, Saft Specialty Battery Group general manager. “This launch strengthens our partnership with Orbital Sciences Corporation to promote the safety and reliability of Li-ion batteries for GEO applications and consolidate Saft's position as a key supplier for the US space industry.”

Orbital Sciences Corporation built the Horizons-2 satellite for Horizons-2 Satellite, LLC, a joint venture initiated between Intelsat and JSAT Corporation of Japan. It has been launched into an orbital slot at 748 west longitude to help meet the growing demand for Ku-band satellite communications services in North America. The satellite features both a continental US (CONUS) beam and an East Coast beam, which extends the spacecraft's coverage to include the Caribbean and parts of Canada.

Horizons-2 is the 6th Orbital satellite in orbit to feature Saft Li-ion batteries. The others are DART, a US government mission, Optus D1, Optus D2 and Intelsat 11.

The on-board batteries play a vital role in the operation of GEO satellites by providing power for the spacecraft system during the two eclipse seasons per year when the solar panels are blocked from the sun. Saft's Li-ion battery technology has a high-specific energy of 120Wh/Kg. This enables the satellite manufacturer to take advantage of weight savings of around 30-50 per cent compared with nickel-hydrogen batteries. This means that more of the satellite's crucial mass can be dedicated to the payload, helping to generate increased revenue. The Saft Li-ion batteries also ensure complete reliability over the satellite's 15 year mission life.

The Horizons-2 satellite is equipped with batteries based on Saft's space- proven VES140 Li-ion cells, each capable of delivering 40Ah. It features two batteries, each comprising 36 cells in a 4P9S configuration. The cells are manufactured in Saft's facility in Bordeaux, France and assembled into the batteries in Saft's facility in Poitiers.

For further information, please contact: Saft Specialty Battery Group, Tel: +33 1 49 93 19 18 E-mail:

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