3D-printed CubeSat to measure EM effects of space storms

March 29, 2021 // By Rich Pell
3D-printed CubeSat to measure EM effects of space storms
Industrial 3D printing technology company Roboze has announced that it has been selected by the University of Colorado Boulder to optimize the design and 3D printed components for a CubeSat project within the college's department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

The CubeSat will spend at least six months in orbit measuring electromagnetic (EM) waves emitted by lightning discharges on the earth's surface. The CubeSat's small size and particular geometries, including strict mass and volume limitations, prompted the Lightning, Atmosphere, Ionosphere and Radiation Belt (LAIR) research team to select 3D printing over conventional methods for the manufacturing of critical components.

Roboze says it will leverage its high-performance polymer, polyether ether ketone (PEEK) to produce the CubeSat's magnetic field sensor holders.

"Thanks to extraordinary mechanical properties as well as high thermal and chemical resistance, 3D printing is rapidly replacing metal in a wide variety of extreme end-use applications including aerospace, mobility and energy," says Roboze founder and CEO Alessio Lorusso. "It was an honor and a real privilege to collaborate with the LAIR group on this project."

Vicki Knoer, a researcher in the project adds, "Because we are so constrained by mass, 3D printing was the ideal solution for our CubeSat. Roboze allowed us to meet the requirements of the project by guiding us in choosing the most suitable material and in the optimization of the parts to minimize mass. We are very satisfied with the results we are achieving."

The project kicked off in spring 2019, and after the first validation phases, is expected to see its launch into space in the first half of 2022.

Roboze


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