LITHIUM ION BATTERY PERFORMANCE IN LOW EARTH ORBIT SATELLITE APPLICATIONS
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This research investigates performance of three groups of 18-65 cylindrical lithium-ion cells with different positive active materials (NCA, NMC, LFP), negative active material (NAM) graphite average particle sizes (2 – 30 µm) and electrode designs (high power, high energy). Each cell was tested using an accelerated LEO CubeSat cycle in a 3P group configuration in ambient laboratory (~101 kPa, 20 °C), enhanced with low temperature (~101 kPa, 10 °C) and enhanced with vacuum (~0.2 kPa, 10 °C) conditions. With identical energy demand on each cycle, cell groups were continuously operated unless failure was achieved. In all three conditions the LFP cell type outperformed the NCA and NMC cell type with regards to total discharge energy throughout and energy efficiency. This finding proves that the LFP cell type shows high potential in battery design for longer CubeSat missions, while also reducing the total required photovoltaic array size due to improved energy efficiency.