Date of Award
Master of Science
Solar cells in space can be damaged by orbital debris or by a spacecraft's malfunction or failure to follow its orbital trajectory. CubeSats are powered by the electrical power system, and if these solar cells are damaged, the electrical power system module will fail to operate the CubeSat because of the absence of energy to the system. In 2016, the Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research of UTEP proposed the idea to develop a 1U small satellite that will 3D print an electrical conductive trace to repair a damaged solar cell using additive manufacturing techniques. A 3D printed 3D printer that dispenses an electrical conductive trace, made out of silver ink, between two terminal points on the print substrate, a PCB board, simulating the repair of a solar panel in space. The duration of the experiment will be of approximately 2 minutes, and the carriage will begin moving in one direction once it is calibrated and the dispenser is then activated. UTEP proposed this CubeSat to the United Launch Alliance initiative and obtained first place. UTEP was awarded a free ride to space of 1U CubeSats to geostationary transfer orbit in an Atlas V rocket in 2019. No other university CubeSat has been launched to geostationary transfer orbit before, nor faced the space and radiation environment of the Van Allen Radiation Belt. 3D printing in space is both ground-breaking and difficult because of micro-gravity and severe temperatures environment. The 3D printer main subsystems are the material injector, the nozzle pin remover mechanism, and the motion controller. This paper describes the material selection of the 3D printed ink, the dispenser design and prototype, the assembly and integration of the 3D printer components as well as the CubeSat components as a whole, and the preliminary and final vibration test results that were submitted to Nano-Racks LLC.
Received from ProQuest
Olvera, Gerardo, "Orbital Factory II - 3D Printer and Vibration Testing" (2019). Open Access Theses & Dissertations. 3012.
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