Article

Idaho's first satellite is 3D printed and all set to launch

  • Nimish Sany
  • 28 October , 2016

Students and researchers at Idaho’s Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) have 3D printed  satellite that’s all set to be launched a part of ELaNa (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites).

The satellite named MakerSat is a CubeSat category satellite, 1UCubesat to be specific, which is a class of miniaturized-satellites that could be hold in hand. The satellite was the research project of a team of five students led by Dr. Stephen Parke who is a professor of Electrical Engineering at NNU. MakerSat was developed by the team over a time of two years and aims at finding out how 3D printed materials behave in space? Research student and member of the project team, Connor Nogales, explains to a local broadcaster, “We’d like to someday 3D print a spacecraft or a structure in space, and this satellite tests how much material we use and how much it degrades in space.”

The project team holding MakerSat, a satellite that belongs to CubeSat1 class

The project team holding MakerSat, a satellite that belongs to CubeSat1 class. Image: NNU

MakerSat occupies just 1135 cubic centimeters of volume and amounts to only around a kilogram. Once launched, MakerSat will put the 3D printed materials such as Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and Ultem to test their degrading factors in space. According to the project team, the satellite is capable of keeping up speeds of 17,000 mph for the next ten years. “Every 100 minutes it will complete one path around the Earth,” says Braden Grim, student and member of the team. If MakerSat turns out to be successful, then the team will pursue on MakerSat1 which will be 3D printed at the Additive Manufacturing Facility, which was opened aboard the ISS earlier this year.

Author

Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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