3D printing has been gaining new applications in recent years, and its popularity in various industries is growing. This innovation enables the development of products that offer many advantages over conventional manufacturing. For the space industry, the given technology opens excellent opportunities to produce components needed for equipment repair, research, and aerospace applications.
Satellite Components Production
Communication, high-resolution satellite images, and other benefits that people can get from satellites are crucial and widely used in various industries. Tough competition in the satellite market forces manufacturers to increase the number of products and reduce manufacturing time and financial costs. Innovative technologies like 3D printing significantly contribute to the acceleration of production and keep pace with changes in the industry.
Additive manufacturing uses digital models, powders, and metal threads from which many layers are created to produce near-finished items. A computer controls the “printing” device and uses a 3D digital model in a computer-aided design file format. This approach enables the manufacture of complex single-piece products, saving a lot of weight and money.
The current buy-to-fly ratio is 80%. This weight ratio between the component’s raw material and its weight leaves much room for improvement. The maximum savings can be up to 50%. It depends on the design and plays a crucial role in reducing fuel consumption and savings in start-up costs.
3D printing will take an important place in many industries in the future, along with collaborative robots, VR, and AR technologies. In addition, most high-resolution satellites and other satellites will receive parts made using additive technologies in the coming years.
Individualized New Parts
The advantage of 3D printing over traditional production is the ability to create more complex geometries. In addition, manufactured parts are lighter and more reliable. With this technology, the manufacturers can copy existing features and design new solutions.
These capabilities are critical for spaceflight and obtaining high-resolution earth images, as parts can be highly complex, and tools are needed to develop entirely new designs. The design process can involve a wide range of activities, from seamlessly connecting two structures to replicating an existing engine part. Thus, creating any structural component for a launch vehicle is possible.
With 3D printing, it is possible to produce exactly the amount of needed material, which provides significant savings and a reduction in waste usually left with traditional methods. For example, in manufacturing metal parts, you can save up to 40% of waste using 3D printing.
Agri-focused Satellite Constellation EOS SAT
Satellites play an essential role in modern agriculture. Hi-res satellite images and further processing of the received data enable obtaining comprehensive information about the state of plants and soil. Satellite data is also a reliable source of information for forecasting, planning, and analysis of past events, helping to detect patterns affecting farmland.
EOS Data Analytics provides many industries with reliable satellite data analytics and develops software products for agriculture and forestry using satellite technologies and AI. In January 2023, the company will launch the first satellite of the EOS SAT project, a constellation of 7 satellites focused on meeting the needs of agriculture for accurate data.
The EOS SAT constellation will be fully launched into low Earth orbit by 2025 and will also be equipped with 13 agricultural-related bands. Sensors on optical satellites weighing 170 kg will provide panchromatic (1.4 m) and multispectral (2.8 m) images.
The satellite constellation will generate images of the same site every 5-6 days. The clients can also request daily images.
Thanks to this project, EOSDA will be able to receive data for high-precision analysis of agricultural land for every player in the industry. The company will be able to establish a complete operational cycle, from data collection and image obtaining to analytics. Thus, EOS Data Analytics will make an even more outstanding contribution to sustainable agriculture and food security development.
Future of the Market
Using inexpensive and smaller satellites can increase the amount of data collected. In addition, small satellites can successfully operate both in a group and autonomously at a lower cost. It makes a huge difference for businesses in making informed business decisions. Geospatial intelligence will become more accessible shortly due to advances in commercial space launches and small satellites.
The availability of high-res imagery will help reduce costs and increase the number of practical applications. Lowering costs and technical barriers will attract even more participants from various industries. Accordingly, further expansion of the market is expected.
Thanks to technological breakthroughs, steel, and aluminum alloys are stronger than 3D metals were in the past. The fabricated components make it possible to print durable parts that can withstand the stresses of space flight. This factor is crucial for the development of aerospace 3D technology. The financing is growing, which stimulates the further development of the industry.