Home Applications & Case Studies Breakthrough in space travel: additive manufacturing technology from BLT supports Orienspace

Breakthrough in space travel: additive manufacturing technology from BLT supports Orienspace

On January 11, 2024, the launch of the Gravity-1 Y-1, a commercial launch vehicle from Orienspace, marked a milestone in space travel. The rocket successfully launched the Yunyao-1 satellites No. 18-20 into their intended orbits. A key contribution to the success of this mission came from Bright Laser Technologies (BLT), a metal additive manufacturing (AM) specialist, which was essential to the development of critical parts of the Gravity-1 Y-1.

The Gravity-1 Y-1’s main bundle components are large and complex in geometry, making them susceptible to deformation. These features pose challenges with conventional manufacturing methods, such as high processing difficulty, long production cycles and low material utilization. However, the use of LSF (Laser Selective Fusion) technology enables the rapid production of these large structural components.

BLT was involved in the development of the “Gravity-1” and used LSF technology to manufacture the main bundle components for Orienspace. BLT’s LSF technology achieves near net-shape design of large-sized, complex-shaped components, which reduces the production cycle and cost of components, shortens the development cycle, significantly improves material utilization and lowers manufacturing costs. Tests confirmed that the mechanical properties of TC11 titanium alloy parts are reliable at room temperature, with a tensile strength of ≥1060 MPa and a yield strength of ≥885 MPa, which meets the technical requirements and ensures product quality.

In addition, the cost and production cycle after the strengthening process meet the requirements for mass production. BLT used several machines simultaneously to print over 30 main bundle products in series for the customer. The manufactured components have a high consistency in quality performance and meet the stringent requirements for space applications, which contributed to the successful launch of the rocket into space.

In recent years, aerospace components have been trending towards larger sizes, increased complexity and integrated structural functionality. Metal 3D printing technology is playing a significant role in accelerating the development and iteration of space components and driving high-quality advances in the aerospace industry. BLT has made significant advances in SLM, LSF and WAAM processes and supports commercial space customers such as Orienspace, i-Space and LandSpace in realizing their “space dreams”.

Today, BLT has a customer base of over 30 companies in the commercial space industry. We provide comprehensive support for our customers, including optimized design, technical consulting, parts development and equipment tuning. With over a decade of experience in custom product manufacturing, structural optimization, a well-established technology R&D network and proven engineering expertise, BLT’s equipment and powder products enable rapid research and efficient low-volume customization of components for commercial space users with comprehensive industry support.

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