3D Printing

3D Printed Parts In Space: Cube-Sat Launch Successful

A satellite containing 3D printed parts has been successfully launched and is due to capture its first images from orbit within the next week. The cube-sat was designed by students at the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University, in conjunction with Kentucky Space acting as the mission manager and coordinator.CRP USA and CRP Technology produced five Windform XT 2.0 parts that are incorporated into the deployable solar panels on the KySat-2; camera annulus, lens cover, deployable extensions, antenna clips and battery holders.

KySat-2 was launched on board a Minotaur I rocket built by Orbital Sciences. Typically, the operational lifetime for a CubeSat is around one year due to radiation exposure and damage to on-board batteries.  The KySat-2 will remain operational as long as the team is able to make reliable contact with the satellite.

Twyman Clements, KySat-2 Project Manager at Kentucky Space explained: “There were several 3D printed components on the KySat-2One of the sub-systems, is the camera system that acts as an attitude determination system called Stellar Gyro.The additive process 3D printed the mounting hardware for the camera system, extensions for the separation switches, clips for holding the antennas in their stowed position and the mounting bracket for the on board batteries.The process and the material were critical to achieve the right components for KySat-2.”

CRP USA together with its parent company CRP Technology produced five Windform XT 2.0 parts using the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process. Windform XT 2.0 is a high performance material filled with carbon fibre,which is designed to offer the maximum mechanical performance for 3D printed parts. It is one of the highest levels of Windform materials. The material is tough and robust yet very light. It was selected to ensure that the final part did not negatively impact the overall production weight of the KySat-2 unit.

Stewart Davis, Director of Operations at CRP USA commented: “Congratulations to the KySat-2 team on a very successful launch. We are excited for the KySat-2 team, and are looking forward to following their mission.”