After more than 20 years, Australia has once again sent its own scientific satellite into space. The special feature: The nanosatellite has a highly efficient cooling system that was manufactured using 3D printing.
The small research satellite “SpIRIT” was developed by the University of Melbourne in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency. A heat radiation device manufactured by Australian metal printing supplier Titomic is used for cooling.
According to Titomic CEO Herbert Koeck, this thermal component was crucial to protect the satellite’s sensitive sensors from overheating. Using the company’s proprietary cold spraying process, the copper design could be precisely implemented, maximizing cooling performance.
Measuring just 30x10x10 cm, the SpIRIT satellite was launched into orbit on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. From there, it will measure X-ray and gamma radiation for two years. It will then burn up on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
In addition to the research mission, Titomic CEO Koeck sees the project as proof of the maturity of additive manufacturing for space travel. Major industry players such as Airbus and ArianeGroup are also already relying on 3D printing for rocket and satellite components.