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Atlas in Space – 3D Printing in Space

03 August 2017 ...

With an Atlas rocket launch due today, 3 August 2017, we thought it poignant to talk about how Additive Manufacturing (AM) is playing a huge part in space travel.

There have been more than 600 Atlas launches from NASA’s Cape Canaveral. This might give the impression that satellite launches and space travel is becoming run-of-the-mill, but each launch is the culmination of thousands of hours of precision and high quality engineering. Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as industrial 3D printing, is now beginning to play a critical part.

AM production from 3T RPD has proved its worth in space. The benefits of AM from 3T such as weight reduction, part simplification and increased part performance is enabling satellite manufacturers to reduce the cost and improve the functionality of each satellite they launch.

Additive Manufacturing subverts the constraints of traditional manufacture allowing items to be manufactured in a form that not only is more efficient than those it replaces, but also allows them to be more elegant too. The work undertaken by 3T with partners in using AM to make production satellite parts has pioneered the way for more 3D printing in space.

AM’s advantages of weight saving, component reduction, improved ergonomics and improved mechanical properties make it an ideal manufacturing technique for not only satellite production, but also many other engineering challenges. The benefits of AM from 3T RPD are already being realized by the Formula 1, automotive, aerospace and medical industries and now the space industry is benefiting from 3T RPD’s AM production too.

Now that 3T is about to go into space, the future for AM production really is to “go boldly” into “infinity and beyond”.

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