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NASA space suits to use LG Chem batteries

[THE INVESTOR] Chemical and battery firm LG Chem is slated to supply its batteries to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the second half of this year, according to the company on July 17.

The local battery maker recently signed a supply deal with NASA to provide its lithium ion batteries for the agency’s space suits used for space exploration.

“The batteries will serve a key role in the spacesuits, which have various functions such as oxygen suppliers, communications equipment and radiation detectors for the survivals of astronauts,” a LG Chem’s official said.

The small batteries to be supplied to NASA are cheaper and have a longer lifespan than silver-zinc batteries generally used for aviation and military sectors, according to the company. 

An astronaut wearing a NASA space suit. / LG Chem
An astronaut wearing a NASA space suit. / LG Chem

The batteries are equipped with a safety reinforced separator, which is a key technology in determining the safety of lithium ion batteries as it blocks short circuits by increasing thermal and mechanical strength.

“We will expand the battery market in diverse aviation and space sectors by strengthening the partnership with NASA,” said Lee Woong-beom, a chief of LG Chem’s battery business division.

Apart from the space industry, LG Chem has been supplying its batteries to around 20 automakers including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Renault, apart from Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

The global lithium ion battery market is expected to grow more than 17 percent annually to 169 gigawatt hours in 2020 from 90 gigawatt hours this year to 169 gigawatt hours in 2020, according to Japanese research firm B3.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)


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