Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are currently testing newly developed 3D-printed materials for use in satellites. The aim is to produce cheaper and lighter components through additive manufacturing.
The satellites – SCOOB-II, VELOX-AM and ARCADE – serve as demonstrators of NTU’s outstanding satellite engineering capabilities and undergraduate aerospace education.
SCOOB-II represents the second generation of NTU’s student satellite series. This initiative aims to provide hands-on satellite experience to engineering students. Weighing 4.1 kg and the size of a shoebox, SCOOB-II carries a payload that demonstrates advanced electronics testing in space.
The VELOX-AM (Additive Manufacturing) satellite is a particularly exciting project. Developed in collaboration with Singapore’s A*STAR, VELOX-AM will be the first to explore how 3D-printed parts can be effectively used to manufacture complex satellite components. This could herald a new era in satellite manufacturing in which 3D printing technologies play a central role.
The ARCADE (Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer) satellite is used to measure data for atmospheric coupling studies. It hosts four instruments: two imaging systems, a plasma probe, and an atomic oxygen instrument. In addition, newly developed flexible perovskite solar cells are on board for testing in Low Earth Orbit. This could demonstrate their potential use in flexible, deployable solar panels.
These missions underscore NTU’s continued commitment to advanced space technology and education. The use of 3D printing in space could open a new chapter in satellite development and production.