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Proceedings Paper

Enablement of scientific remote sensing missions with in-space 3D printing
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Paper Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the capability of a 3D printer to successfully operate in-space to create structures and equipment useful in the field of scientific remote sensing. Applications of this printer involve oceanography, weather tracking, as well as space exploration sensing. The design for the 3D printer includes a parabolic array to collect and focus thermal energy. This thermal energy then be used to heat the extrusion head, allowing for the successful extrusion of the print material. Print material can range from plastics to metals, with the hope of being able to extrude aluminum for its low-mass structural integrity and its conductive properties. The printer will be able to print structures as well as electrical components. The current process of creating and launching a remote sensor into space is constrained by many factors such as gravity on earth, the forces of launch, the size of the launch vehicle, and the number of available launches. The design intent of the in-space 3D printer is to ease or eliminate these constraints, making space-based scientific remote sensors a more readily available resource.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 May 2016
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9854, Image Sensing Technologies: Materials, Devices, Systems, and Applications III, 985413 (26 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223467
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Hirsch, Univ. of North Dakota (United States)
Thomas McGuire, Univ. of North Dakota (United States)
Michael Parsons, Univ. of North Dakota (United States)
Skye Leake, Univ. of North Dakota (United States)
Jeremy Straub, Univ. of North Dakota (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9854:
Image Sensing Technologies: Materials, Devices, Systems, and Applications III
Nibir K. Dhar; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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