Swedish Company RUAG is 3D Printing Satellite Components for Space

IMTS

Share this Article

sen3Space exploration and additive manufacturing go together like Oreos and milk. Over the last two years, we have seen an influx of companies within the aerospace industry begin adopting 3D printing as a way to cut their costs by reducing payload weights, or in a couple of cases, the actual weight of a spacecraft. Elon Musk is using additive manufacturing to lighten the launch load for SpaceX missions, while NASA is exploring the technology in a variety of ways as well.

Swedish company RUAG, known for their highly reliable on-board satellite equipment, which includes microwave electronics, antennas, separation systems, and various other components, has turned their attention to 3D printing as a means of production.

RUAG’s Space division has teamed up with Altair, a US company known for their design optimization skills, as well as Germany-based EOS, which has vast experience producing light-weight metal-alloy components via additive manufacturing technology.

3D Printed Antenna Support

3D Printed Antenna Support

The goal for RUAG Space is to produce a lighter, more efficient antenna support for an Earth Observation (EO) satellite, a successor to the Sentinel-1 radar satellite. To get started the company relied upon Altair’s software to redesign the support structure using as little material as possible and exploit the freedom of design enabled through the use of 3D Printing. Once a design was agreed upon, they turned to EOS which printed the finished component via a powder-bed laser sintering machine.

“Our goal is to fit Sentinel-1 successors with antenna supports that have been manufactured using a 3D printer,” said RUAG Space CTO Michael Pavloff. “3D printing has enormous potential for our business, and we’re currently in the process of developing further space applications.”

RUAG Space managed to produce a part which was half the weight of that used on the Sentinel-1, while possessing better rigidity. The antenna support was a staggering 40cm in length, making it the largest known object ever 3D printed via a powder-bed laser sintering system. A rigorous set of tests are being conducted on the support, which should conclude by year’s end.

“The collaboration with RUAG Space and EOS allows us to deliver even more innovative end-to-end design and optimization processes to exploit the benefits of additive sen4manufacturing.” said Altair Managing Director Pietro Cervellera.

Future applications of this technology could mean more than the production of a single satellite component. In fact, entire sections of a satellite may one day be printed out, including their reflectors, heating pipes, harnesses, and other components which could be integrated directly into the underlying structure of the satellite, printed in one piece.

There is no doubt that this incredible technology will continue to save those involved in the aerospace industry quite a bit of money, while also reducing the amount of raw material needed for the production of various items. Let’s hear your thoughts on this story in the 3D Satellite Component forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Sentinel-1

Sentinel-1

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, April 13, 2024: Robotics, Orthotics, & Hypersonics

Polls of the Week: Are 3D Printed Guns a Threat and Should We Regulate Them?



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs, April 3, 2024: Kickstarter FDM 3D Printer, Artificial Eyes, & More

In 3D Printing News Briefs today, we’re talking about an FDM 3D printer on Kickstarter, advancements in artificial eye creation, and 3D printed solenoids for electromagnets. Then we’ll move on...

Daring AM: The Global Crackdown on 3D Printed Firearms Continues

In the last few years, a surge in police raids uncovering 3D printed guns has led to concerns about their growing association with criminal gangs. Although typically seen as inferior...

3D Printing Ethics: Navigating the Gray Areas of 3D Technology

From crafting custom birthday presents to building life-saving prosthetics, 3D printing has revolutionized how we interact with the physical world. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the democratization...

Poll of the Week: Exciting Topics at Additive Manufacturing Strategies 2024

This week, from February 6-8, the 7th annual Additive Manufacturing Strategies (AMS) event will take place. Produced by 3DPrint.com and Additive Manufacturing Research (AMR), this is the only 3D printing...