Metal Binder Jetting
Automotive Polymers

Swedish Company RUAG is 3D Printing Satellite Components for Space

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 Webinar and Event Roundup: August 7, 2022

3D Printing News Briefs, August 6, 2022: Business, Aerospace Accreditation, & More



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Bosch Buys Two SLM Solutions SLM500 Metal 3D Printers

Bosch has bought two SLM500 powder bed fusion (PBF) metal 3D printers from SLM Solutions. One will be used at the company’s 3D-MPC Manufacturing and Processing Center to make powertrain...

New Method Uses Multiple Nozzles to 3D Print Many Parts or a Single Part Quickly

Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a technique they called “multiplexed fused filament fabrication (MF3)“. MF3 sees multiple nozzles mounted onto a single gantry that moves while the build platform...

3D Printing News Briefs, August 3, 2022: Army Aircraft, Nano Copper Inks, & More

Kicking things off in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs is a story focused on aviation, as two 3D printed cargo links represent the first U.S. Army-developed metallic 3D printed aircraft...

3D Printing Opportunities for Small Businesses

To help address the additive manufacturing (AM) skills gap that exists between technological progress and a talented workforce, the European Union funded the THREE-D-Print project. The group will be presenting...