Development and Environmental Testing of a Single-axis Printer Inside a 1U Cubesat for On-orbit Servicing Repairs in Low Earth Orbit
As additive manufacturing is becoming an established technology in space, new emerging strategies improve the efficiency of the printing processes. Orbital Factory 2 (OF-2) is a small satellite—or CubeSat—developed at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) which launched to space on November 2019. In January 2020, it will be released in low earth orbit (LEO). OF-2 is a 1U (10x10x10cm) CubeSat that carries a one-axis printer experiment as its primary payload. This printer was developed and tested in-house. The experiment focuses on printing electrically conductive ink on a printing circuit board that verifies the conductivity on the trace once cured. This could potentially allow for the repairs of solar cells while in orbit. The printer assembly utilizes materials made from conventional additive manufacturing processes which are also space- grade to comply with space regulations, and is housed inside the chassis with the other electronic modules. Several feedbacks implemented in the design allow to track the progress of the printing process during its different stages. This paper discusses the design and development of the printer as well as the challenges and changes encountered throughout the process.
Aerospace engineering|Mechanical engineering
Perez, Perla Rocio, "Development and Environmental Testing of a Single-axis Printer Inside a 1U Cubesat for On-orbit Servicing Repairs in Low Earth Orbit" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27671528.