Fuels cells have been used for US manned space flight beginning with the Gemini program in the early 1960s, the Apollo program during the 1970s, and continuing through the Space Shuttle program from the early 1980s to the early 2010s. They provided both power and drinking water and used hydrogen and oxygen reactants that were readily available.
- As part of a NASA Tipping Point contract, an Infinity fuel cell is scheduled for a proof-of-concept launch on a Blue Origin New Shepard unmanned sub-orbital flight later this year.
- Infinity is working with the NASA Glenn Research Center to provide the fuel cell component for a Lunar Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) system to designed to power a moon base through the 14-day long lunar night.
- Infinity is actively working on fuel cell and electrolyzer technology for crewed space missions.
Space Launch Systems (SLS)
Infinity has been actively involved in the development of prototype fuel cell power systems for the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS). Working with NASA Glenn Research Center, the XSP series fuel cell can provide reliable, efficient power for upcoming manned or unmanned missions to the International Space Station, the Moon, or Mars.
The requirements for providing power to crew capsules have not changed since the Gemini days. It’s essential that the power system be reliable, efficient, and redundant for manned crew modules. A tremendous benefit of fuel cell systems is that they can produce enough water for the crew. At 1 kg/L (8.34 lb/gal), generating this water as a by-product from the hydrogen and oxygen onboard is a huge weight savings at launch.
Infinity has developed fuel cell power solutions for rover demonstrations for two NASA facilities: Glenn Research Center and Johnson Space Center. These demonstrations have been performed in vehicle platforms representative of actual applications and run through traditional mission profiles.
Lunar / Martian Base
The ability to live on another orbiting body, processing local materials in-situ to develop more permanent human presence has long been a dream of the space program. Regenerative fuel cell power and energy systems have long been an option for facilitating this effort. Infinity’s team has a long history in the development of these systems.