Enabling Technologies for Entrepreneurial Opportunities in 3D printing of SmallSats
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- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- A consortium of innovative experts in additive manufacturing (AM) comprising Northrup Grumman Technical Services, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Configurable Space Microsystems Innovations & Applications Center (COSMIAC), NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), and Youngstown State University, have made significant breakthroughs in the goal of creating the first complete 3D printed small satellite. Since AM machines are relatively inexpensive, this should lead to many entrepreneurial opportunities for the small satellite community. Our technology advancements are focused on the challenges of embedding key components within the structure of the article. We have demonstrated, using advanced fused deposition modeling techniques, complex geometric shapes which optimize the spacecraft design. The UTEP Keck Center has developed a method that interrupts the printing process to insert components into specific cavities, resulting in a spacecraft that has minimal internal space allocated for what traditionally were functional purposes. This allows us to increase experiment and instrument capability by provided added volume in a confined small satellite space. Leveraging initial progress made on a NASA contract, the team investigated the potential of new materials that exploit the AM process, producing candidate compositions that exceed the capabilities of traditional materials. These "new materials" being produced and tested include some that have improved radiation shielding, increased permeability, enhanced thermal properties, better conductive properties, and increased structural performance. The team also investigated materials that were previously not possible to be made. Our testing included standard mechanical tests such as vibration, tensile, thermal cycling, and impact resistance as well as radiation and electromagnetic tests. The initial results of these products and their performance will be presented and compared with standard properties. The new materials with the highest probability to disrupt the future of small satellite systems by driving down costs will be highlighted, in conjunction with the electronic embedding process.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20140011334., GRC-E-DAA-TN15788., E-18939., and AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites; 4-7 Aug.; Logan, UT; United States.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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