When is the last time that a battery-powered spacecraft was launched without an RTG or solar-electric power? had to be refined a few times because the use of battery-only power is much more widespread than I'd originally considered.

This is a break-out question from there.

Question: What secondary science payloads deployed from primary science payloads were strictly battery powered for electrical power? They should have no solar cells nor RTGs proper (no radioisotope thermoelectric generators thought radioisotope thermal sources are okay) nor fuel cells. Just plain old batteries.


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From Huygens spacecraft; Overview:

The main mission phase was a parachute descent through Titan's atmosphere. The batteries and all other resources were sized for a Huygens mission duration of 153 minutes, corresponding to a maximum descent time of 2.5 hours plus at least 3 additional minutes (and possibly a half-hour or more) on Titan's surface. The probe's radio link was activated early in the descent phase, and the orbiter "listened" to the probe for the next three hours, including the descent phase, and the first thirty minutes after touchdown. Not long after the end of this three-hour communication window, Cassini's high-gain antenna (HGA) was turned away from Titan and towards Earth.

  • Galileo dropped a (not separately named) atmospheric probe into Jupiter.

From In Depth | Galileo Jupiter Atmospheric Probe

It was released July 13, 1995, when the main Galileo spacecraft was still about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) from Jupiter.

The probe returned valuable data for 58 minutes as it plunged into the Jovian cauldron. It endured a maximum deceleration of 228 g’s about a minute after entry when temperatures scaled up to 28,832 degrees Fahrenheit (16,000 degrees Celsius).

The probe’s transmitter failed 61.4 minutes after entry when the spacecraft was about 112 miles (180 kilometers) below its entry ceiling, evidently due to the enormous pressure (22.7 atmospheres).


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