Application of additive manufacturing and reinforced composite materials developed for motorsport industry that is now finding inroads into uses in CubeSats and related space exploration.
The JAXA spacecraft “KOUNOTORI-6” was launched on a mission to resupply the International Spaces Station. It carried the TuPOD system developed by Tetonsys, Gauss, Moorehead State, Open Space Networks and CRP USA. This unique small satellite was designed as both a CubeSat and as a dispensing system for two tube satellites. The team took advantage of 3D printing and leveraged this technology in designing for the application. A discussion of challenges related to making this mission successful, the advantages and challenges of using 3D printing (specifically Windform XT 2.0) and the TuPODs cargo and an update on their status.
TuPOD was deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo.” A few days later, the TuPOD successfully dispensed the two tube satellites TANCREDO I and OSNSAT. This mission marks a new milestone in the small satellite arena: it is the first time that two TubeSats are deployed in space, using the specifically designed TuPOD that functions as both a satellite and release platform.
A few years ago, 29 small satellites were launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility including KySat-2, a 1U CubeSat. Some parts of the KySat-2 was built with 3D-printed parts made from Windform XT 2.0.
This paper will discuss how each satellite used 3D printing, an overview of Windform XT 2.0, pros, cons and design considerations of 3D printing.
- Comprehend the role of high-performance composite materials in the manufacturing process
- Determine 3D printing future potential uses in the design and construction of spacecraft
- Realize that 3D printing process enables entire new platforms with the use of reinforced composite materials
Why Is This Important?
3D printing is moving into a new exciting area. Initially, 3D printers were used as an affordable and quick prototyping method. Now that a design for 3D printing methodology has taken hold, we are seeing a new philosophy moving from printing that enables parts to enabling entire new platforms with the use of reinforced composite materials. The recent predominance of consumer-level 3D printers has brought much attention towards the additive manufacturing process. This paper will discuss 3D printing future potential uses in the design and construction of spacecraft.