APOLLO FUEL CELL PROTOTYPE
December 26, 1962
Apollo prototype fuel cell is shown producing electric power and fresh drinking water during recent continuous 86-hour performance evaluation tests at North American's Space and Information Systems Division, Downey, Calif. Under development by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft. Hartford, Conn., for North American's Space Division, fuel cell similar to one pictured above [right] will provide power and water for three Apollo astronauts on round trip to the moon. Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electricity. They were selected for lunar space missions because of great weight savings over conventional devices and batteries. The savings are the result of exceptionally high efficiency of the fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen as an oxidizer. Each prototype fuel cell must demonstrate successful operation over a power output range from about 500 watts to more than 1,500 watts, according to requirements by North American and NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston. Water produced in the fuel cell system's electrochemical reaction must meet U.S. Public Health Department standards for purity.
Original Caption by Science Service