Energy Goals and Challenges for Future Space Exploration

Judith A. Jeevarajan
Senior Scientist
NASA Johnson Space Center

Abstract:  Energy storage (batteries) and conversion systems (fuel cells) have been used as main power sources for space vehicles and satellite systems for a few decades.  With the advent of lithium-ion systems in the commercial market for portable electronic equipment, space vehicles and electric vehicles for ground transportation have turned towards the use of this battery chemistry due to their very high energy as well as power density.  The energy density of these systems have been improving steadily in the past two decades and with this increase comes the challenge of safety especially those associated with their use in human-rated space systems.  Space systems have a greater challenge of requiring higher energy and/or power in a smaller volume and lower mass.  In this presentation, the challenges faced by NASA in achieving the power goals for future exploration missions will be presented.

Bio:  Dr. Judith Jeevarajan has worked on-site at NASA-Johnson Space Center since 1998.  She is currently the Group Lead for Battery Safety and Advanced Technology at NASA-JSC.  Before becoming a civil servant at NASA in 2003, she worked for Lockheed Martin Space Operations. She has a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame (’91), and she graduated with a Ph.D. in Chemistry (Electrochemistry) from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1995. Dr. Jeevarajan worked for a small business company in College Station, TX for a year immediately after completion of graduate work.  Following this, she worked for a year as a post-doctoral fellow at Texas A&M University on NASA projects, which was immediately followed by her joining Lockheed Martin Space Operations in Houston. She has more than 15 years of battery experience with her main focus being li-ion cell and battery research. Dr. Jeevarajan represents the battery group at all the NASA safety panels, which involves working with the International Partners. Dr. Jeevarajan serves in the Technical Working Group for standards organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories and IEC/ANSI and is currently leading an effort for NASA under AIAA to write a space safety standard for battery systems. She has more than 60 presentations at conferences and has won numerous NASA awards, the most recent of them being the Exceptional Service NASA award. Dr. Jeevarajan and her husband, Antony, reside in Houston and have three children.

Sponsored by the Department of Chemistry, Radiation Laboratory, and cSEND.