Advanced fuel cells to be developed for NASA’s next-generation spacecraft

American company Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen has been tapped by NASA to develop fuel cells that could function in vacuum to power the onboard systems for the next generation Space Launch Systems (SLS) vehicle. The SLS is planned as the long-delayed replacement for the space shuttle program, with the capability of lifting an unprecedented 130,000 kg into low-Earth orbit.

Liquid hydrogen underpins rocket technology, as it has the lowest molecular weight of any potential fuel. Fuel cells have also long been used in space vehicles for on-board electricity, though the water produced as a byproduct can become a problem. Infinity claims that their patented technology has partly solved this issue, and NASA seems interested enough to continue doing business with them.