Advertisements

Stratasys to Test 3D-Printed Materials in Pioneering Lunar Mission

by Anna

Stratasys, a leading additive manufacturing system developer, is set to play a pivotal role in an upcoming lunar mission that aims to evaluate the performance of 3D-printed materials on the lunar surface. The project, part of Aegis Aerospace, Inc.’s Space Science & Technology Evaluation Facility mission (SSTEF-1), is a commercial space testing service developed under NASA’s Tipping Point program in Houston, Texas.

Advertisements

As part of the SSTEF-1 mission, Stratasys will collaborate with Northrop Grumman Corporation to conduct experiments that focus on advancing technology for lunar infrastructure and capabilities in near-earth space. Stratasys will contribute 3D-printed samples transported to the lunar surface by an unmanned lander, enclosed in a carrier structure also 3D-printed by Stratasys.

Advertisements

The first experiment will assess the performance of a sample coupon part made with Stratasys’ Antero 800NA FDM filament filled with tungsten. Antero 800NA is a high-performance PEKK-based thermoplastic known for its excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and low outgassing characteristics. The addition of tungsten aims to provide shielding against harmful radiation, such as gamma rays or x-rays.

The second passive experiment will examine how 3D-printed materials perform in space conditions. It includes Antero 840CN03 FDM filament, featuring Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) properties for use with electronics and previously utilized on the Orion spacecraft. This experiment will also introduce a new ESD photopolymer from Stratasys partner Henkel, designed for high-heat environments and compatible with Stratasys’ Origin One 3D printers. Coupon samples of the 3D-printed materials will be subjected to moon dust, low pressure leading to outgassing, and rapid temperature swings due to the moon’s virtually non-existent atmosphere.

Chief Industrial Business Officer Rich Garrity emphasized the importance of additive manufacturing in space missions, where weight and high performance are critical factors. The experiments aim to deepen the understanding of leveraging 3D printing to enhance safety during lunar travel and beyond.

The parts, integral to the experiments, will be delivered to the lunar surface by an unmanned lander within a Stratasys 3D-printed carrier structure made from ULTEM 9085 thermoplastic. This material, commonly used in commercial aircraft interiors, underscores the versatility and reliability of 3D-printed components in space exploration.

Stratasys’ involvement in this groundbreaking lunar mission highlights the evolving role of additive manufacturing in pushing the boundaries of space exploration technology. As the experiments unfold, the insights gained may pave the way for more extensive applications of 3D printing in future space missions.

Advertisements
Advertisements

You may also like

Copyright © 2023 ourmechanicalcenter.com