Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

News and Insight

Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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Aerospace 3D Printing used for Satellite Radiation Shields

By Staff Writter

Aerospace 3D Printing used for Satellite Radiation Shields

Technology

The number of space applications for aerospace 3d printing continues to grow with the recent announcement by Tethers Unlimited that they will develop spacecraft structures with embedded radiation shielding. Under a contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory, they will continue their work on developing 3D printing methods for radiation shielding. This is a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

Tethers Unlimited's "Versatile Structural Radiation Shielding" (VSRS) technology is already well developed and quite effective at absorbing space radiation. The flexibility of 3D printing is key in their process. It enables the fabrication of shielding components with minimal mass to be created in a cost effective manner. Cost and weight are important considerations for anything launched into space.

Cost reduction is the primary reason behind the need for radiation shielding. Off-the-shelf, commercial electronics are less costly than the radiation hardened components that are normally used. Because of commercial components' vulnerability to radiation, shielding is required for use in space. The shielding will be integrated into the space craft structures with layers of polymer and metals that are exceptionally efficient at absorbing space radiation.

Dr. Rob Hoyt, Tethers Unlimited’s CEO and chief scientist had this to say about their experience with the technology:

The VSRS project builds upon our extensive work over the past five years adapting additive manufacturing techniques to fabricate multifunctional spacecraft structures

With NASA funding, Tethers Unlimited is also developing technology for building space craft structures in orbit. Currently, their focus is on unmanned spacecraft but they are considering more ambitious space applications for 3D printing which may include manned missions.

Tethers Unlimited, Inc. is headquartered near Seattle, Washington, and develops technologies for space, sea, and air. They started developing space tether technologies for space debris removal as well as momentum exchange tethers for launching payloads into higher orbits. They have since expanded their expertise over a broader area which includes the technology needs for high performance components for satellites.