May 23, 2022

Satellite antennas could be 3D printed in space to massively reduce launch costs

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, satellites

“Spacecraft antenna designs are challenging due to their conflicting requirements for high gain, wide bandwidth, and low weight,” Mitsubishi announced. “High gain and wide bandwidth necessarily require a large aperture, but economical orbital deployment conventionally dictates that designs be lightweight and small enough to fit or fold inside a launch vehicle or satellite deployment mechanism.”

Mitsubishi also claimed that, with its new technology, ‘additive-manufacturing in space has now become possible.’ However, it’s worth noting that the International Space Station already features a 3D printer launched to the orbital station back in 2014. The European Space Agency also announced last year it would experiment with 3D printing in space using scrap metals from the Moon.

Still, the company’s new method has the potential to reduce the cost of satellite launches significantly, and it could pave the way for the construction of other vital parts for future space missions.

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