3DP Applications

Chinese Rocket 3D-Printed Seats

For a decade China has been developing additive manufacturing (3D printing) for advanced space flight.  Since 1998 Professor Cui Guoqi, director of the Rapid Prototyping Research Center in Tianjin University, has been creating 3D printed seats for Chinese space missions.

Since China’s first manned spaceflight in 2003, each Shenzhou mission has been equipped with a custom made 3D printed seat. The seat itself is made of a 70mm thick composite material and looks more like a cradle than a traditional chair.

Over the course of the last 10 years, Cui Guoqi has been improving the design of the Chinese space seats, he explained: “During launch and landing these specially designed seats… protect the astronauts, especially their backbones, from being hurt by the jolt during acceleration. Every seat [is] tested by the astronaut in person and undergo[es] adjustments to make it more precise.”

From data capture to production, each seat takes about three months to design and manufacture.
The high levels of personalisation and customisation of ergonomics made possible by 3D printing make it the perfect choice for crafting a body platform that supports the frail biological structure in the face of the massive forces experienced during a lift off.

Here follows a brief history of the Chinese Shenzhou missions for space nerds /  the exologically inclined:

Images Courtesy of Wang Qing