- Press Release
- Mar 25, 2023
Eagle-Picher is There for NEAR’s Unprecedented Landing
LLC — The Power Systems Department of Eagle-Picher Technologies, LLC (EPT) is
celebrating the recent successful and unprecedented touchdown of NASA’s Near-
Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft on the surface of the asteroid
Eros, more than 196 Million miles from Earth.
A nickel-cadmium battery built by Eagle-Picher’s Power Systems Department,
located in Colorado Springs, powers the NEAR spacecraft.
The battery was
built and delivered to the Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL) in 1995. APL then built the NEAR spacecraft, which was
launched in February of 1996.
The NEAR battery, which is considered small by spacecraft standards, has
received a much more rigorous workout than originally called for by the
mission. Due to a computer software glitch, which caused an erroneous engine
firing, the spacecraft missed its first attempt to rendezvous with Eros,
adding another year to the mission.
Finally, on Valentine’s Day 2000, four
years after launch, NEAR fired its engines, slowing the spacecraft to a speed
of about one meter per second (2.2 mph) relative to Eros and allowing the
asteroid’s weak gravity to capture the spacecraft in a loose orbit about it.
Over the past year, NEAR has returned a huge amount of scientific data
including over 160,000 photos, covering Eros’ 21-mile length and culminating
with images of today’s historical landing.
Rolan Farmer, Vice President and General Manager of the Colorado Springs
facility stated, “Eagle-Picher has a tradition of building batteries that
perform above and beyond design requirements.”
The Eagle-Picher batteries
that powered the ill-fated Apollo 13 moon mission after the explosive failure
of its power-generating fuel cell demonstrated this tradition most
Though the mission was aborted, the power from the Eagle-Picher
batteries allowed a safe return of the three astronauts.
Eagle-Picher Technologies, LLC is the world’s most diversified
manufacturer of special purpose power systems for military, medical,
telecommunications and aerospace applications.
Facilities located in
Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas manufacture products ranging from high
purity isotopic Boron compounds and semiconductor materials to advanced
batteries, solar cell components and power systems for defense and aerospace
For more information, please call the Market & Business Development
Department at 417-623-8000 or e-mail: [email protected] .
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