Polish company SatRevolution have announced plans to create a new satellite production plant in Poland and use 3D printing to develop the country’s first satellites. SatRevolution will partner with APWorks to produce a prototype of the Światowid satellite. Airbus subsidiary, APWorks, will provide metal additive manufacturing solutions to the Polish developers.

The Światowid is intended to measure cosmic radiation and electromagnetic interference. To facilitate launching, the design was developed in line with the cube-sat parameters. Measuring 10 x 10 x 20 cm, the satellite will weigh 2 kg.

The project will reportedly require $50 million to complete, with the satellite production facility planned to be built near the Polish city of Wroclaw.

Gif shows the Światowid satellite. Images via SatRevolution.

3D printing in space

3D printing is widely used by the space industry, for example to develop spacecraft by companies like SpaceX, Rocket Crafters and Axiom Space. Also the technology is now used for the development of satellites, such as the ALTAIR satellite by Millenium Space Systems. 3D printing provides a unique prototyping tool that allows companies like SatRevolution to iterate designs and work with geometries that would not be possible with traditional manufacturing techniques.

Space Junk

Italian company D-Orbit are also using 3D printing to develop their satellites, as our editor-in-chief learned at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Mexico last year. However, D-Orbit have very different goals in mind. The team at D-Orbit hope to address the growing issue of space junk, with the low-earth orbit (LEO) slowly becoming a satellite graveyard. We spoke to them recently about their satellite that, “could only be manufactured thanks to AM technology.”

The D-Orbit device is designed to prevent adding to this collection of dead satellites as it contains a small motor that can bring the satellite back to Earth when the time is right.

D-Orbit 3D Printed Satellite Decommissioning Device. Photo via Michael Petch.

D-Orbit 3D Printed Satellite Decommissioning Device. Photo via Michael Petch.

Światowid

In order to produce the prototype for the Światowid satellite, SatRevolution are working with APWorks. The next phase will see the company move into a position where they can develop other satellites, as well as mass producing the Światowid, this involves creating a specialist facility in Poland.

Speaking to Space News, Radoslaw Lapczynski, the co-founder of SatRevolution said,

By the end of 2017, we want to acquire at least 40 million zloty  ($10 million) to develop a HiPER spectrometer and build a production facility that will make satellites and module satellite components.

Looking to the future, Lapczynski said the company were currently speaking to private investors and, “also hope to acquire funds from the European Union.” The date of the plant’s launch, “will depend on the availability of the acquired funds.”

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Featured image shows the representation of the Światowid satellite. Image via SatRevolution. 

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