GS Yuasa, the Japanese corporation that supplies the lithium-ion battery cells used in Boeing’s Dreamliner aeroplane, also holds the contract to supply battery cells to the International Space Station, according to Bloomberg.Problems with the lithium-ion batteries in several Dreamliners are suspected to have caused a fire in a 787 in Boston last week and necessitated an emergency landing in Japan on Wednesday.
Those issues prompted the FAA to issue a rare emergency airworthiness directive, leading to the worldwide grounding of the 50 Dreamliners Boeing has delivered so far.
But the batteries GS Yuasa supplies for the International Space Station are not the same as those it makes for Boeing, NASA spokesperson Josh Byerly told Bloomberg, as the ISS batteries are designed for use in space.
Byerly added that NASA will not reconsider its relationship with GS Yuasa until the FAA investigation into the source of the problems with the Dreamliner is complete.
GS Yuasa Lithium Power is a third-tier contractor: It supplies Pratt & Whitney’s Rocketdyne unit, a Boeing subcontractor.
Lithium ion batteries generate more energy than other types of batteries, which is why Boeing chose to use them. But they tend to overheat, causing “thermal events” — like fires.
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