Propelling the field of small sats forward with 3d printing and Windform® composite materials

CRP Technology and LISA UPEC collaborated to create the 3D printed structure of a nano-satellite that is a 3U CubeSat formfactor. Thanks to selective laser sintering technology and composite material WIndform XT 2.0, several critical issues and strict space requirements have been overcome.

Space industry has been revolutionized by the ever-increasing production and launch of small satellites.

Additive manufacturing technologies not only helped this radical change to be fulfilled, but have itself reached new heights with the manufacture of structural components for the new generation of Space parts using high performance composite materials.

Although much still must be done to reach an extensive use of additive manufacturing for Space applications, CRP Technology's built a considerable experience supplying cutting-edge solutions for space key industry leaders.
A clear and remarkable example comes from the experience with the Laboratoire InterUniversitaire des Système Atmosphérique (LISA) of Universite Paris-est Creteil (UPEC) on the construction of a nano-satellite that is a 3U CubeSat formfactor.
The project was carried by students under CNES and Space Campus University supervision.

The goal was to develop a demonstrator that can be flight-ready in Low Earth Orbit.

CubeSat structure is critical as it has to fulfill the launch-pad (P-Pod) requirements in terms of dimension, flatness and roughness, but also for outgassing, UV resistance, thermal expansion, and general space constraints.
Plus, if it breaks, or stays stuck in the P-pod launcher, the mission is over.

Professional 3D printing, combined with Windform® XT 2.0 Carbon-composite material, proved to be the best choice: the 3D printed part has successfully passed the control and testing criteria, and has fully complied with the requests and LISA's standards.

LISA and CNES performed many tests on the 3D printed nano-satellite structure such as vibration tests and thermal-vacuum tests.

The project manager at LISA, commented, "We are more than satisfied with selective laser sintering technique and consider Windform® XT 2.0 one of the disruptive revolutions in the small satellites arena. We do hope additive manufacturing will be intensively using in space application."

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