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Are We Looking at a New Era of Smaller, 3D Printed Space Satellites?
MODENA, Italy– CRP USA may be setting the stage for a new era of reduced size, high reliability, 3D printed space satellites. The latest satellite manufactured by CRP USA is TuPOD, reported to be the first complete 3D printed satellite to be launched from the International Space Station. The unit, encompassing a 3U CubeSat with a deployment platform for two smaller satellites (TubeSats), incorporates Windform® XT 2.0 carbon fiber–reinforced composite material (www.windform.com/windform-xt-2-0.html) supplied by CRP USA. Known for its superior mechanical properties, Windform XT 2.0 has passed outgassing screening at NASA and is suitable for space applications, CRP USA said in a press release.
As demand grows for cost effective "nanosatellites," CRP engineers are innovating, adapting existing technologies, and pushing technological boundaries. Because TubeSats are cylindrical in shape and not compatible with the normal CubeSats deployer platform (P–POD) on ISS, an innovative nano–satellite, TuPOD (Tubesat–POD), was developed to address the issue.
"Using Windform® XT 2.0 material in the 3D manufacturing of TuPOD was one of the best decisions we have ever made," commented Amin Djamshidpour, designer of TuPOD, in a statement. "During the prototyping phase and even during final manufacturing, we got into multiple situations where we needed to drill parts or make small modifications to the 3D printed structure. Working with Windform® XT 2.0 gave us the ability to do so."
The TubeSats contained within TuPOD are the results of different collaborations. The concept for TANCREDO–1 was developed by Brazilian students from Escola Municipal Presidente Tancredo de Almeida Neves; and INPE, as part of the UbatubaSat Project. OSNSAT was developed by the Californian company, Open Space Network.
The TuPOD satellite/deployer is the result of a successful international collaboration between CRP USA (manufacturer), Teton Aerospace (Tetonsys), Morehead State University, JAXA, and the TANCREDO and OSNSAT teams.
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