Even upon considering all the applications we use 3D printing for today, it’s amazing to me the number of impacts it is making in aerospace—and not always NASA. Numerous other companies too are using the technology for parts and components that allow for speed in production, unlimited customizations whenever needed, and affordability in doing so. From virtual reality camera satellites to sub-orbital prototypes with 3D printed injectors, the list continues to grow.
Now, the first commercial satellite is emerging from Poland, create by SatRevolution SA. The Światowida, created with a 3D printed housing, is meant to be a uniquely durable, highly stable satellite that will be resistant not only to any issues with vibration during flight, but also cosmic radiation. Made with an aluminum alloy profile wall, the device is also meant to endure extreme temperatures and variations, from -150°C to 300°C, as is expected during travel in orbit. The Światowida is also constructed with a retractable handle, and a specialized camera lens protected from the elements.
“In order to obtain the desired properties by us, such as high durability while low weight and very high detail of cutting all the elements of the order of 0.2%, and the optimal shapes of individual parts, the entire structure was made using 3D printing technology,” explains Grzegorz Zwoliński, co-founder SatRevolution SA. “The actual form of individual components will allow for accurate placement of modules within the satellite. As for the size of the case itself, it has a cuboid shape with dimensions of 10x10x20cm.”
With 3D printing protecting the outside, the satellite features interior components with all of the electronics mounted firmly and separate from each other—as well as being kept away from high temperatures that may occur near the housing. The tubular structure is able to handle loads up to 10 x 10 x 34 cm, and allows for minimal risk in terms of interaction between the load to the satellite launching a rocket. The device is lightweight, reliable, and uses little electricity.
The manufacturer has also created an advanced system that allows for the opening of photovoltaic panels with a sun sensor and the antenna, which is pointed toward Earth. The P-POD (Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer) launcher tube plays a major part as the rocket to satellite interface. All of the electrical circuits are adapted to conditions expected to be met in space, and the construction allows for efficiency and good communication with ground stations, via a set of high-precision sensors.
The sensors are able to assist in researching changes in the magnetic field and gravity of the Earth, as well as manipulating the position and acceleration of the satellite itself. As data is collected and returned to the ground stations, scientists will have a better understand of changes in Earth’s magnetic mantle, as well as its place in the thermosphere. The sensors also assist in creating the required torque for controlling trajectory.
“The technologies that we use in the project Światowid are no doubt an innovation on the Polish market,” said Zwoliński. “Our highly qualified engineering team creates solutions that are used in satellites for the first time.”
The whole point of this strong new design is to allow for deeper exploration of space, and satellite designs such as this one should begin opening new doors for manufacturers in Poland entering the space industry.
SatRevolution SA is currently collaborating with the EIT + Company, and was founded by Damian Fijałkowski, Gregory Zwolińskiego and Radoslaw Łapczyńskiego–responsible for the success of T-Bull SA – Polish the company producing games for mobile devices. They will continue to perform testing on this design together. Discuss further in the Satellite with 3D Printed Housing forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: Evertiq]
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