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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Space telescope using Aerospace 3D Printing in its development

By Staff Writter

Space telescope using Aerospace 3D Printing in its development

Technology

Lockheed Martin’s advanced technology center (ATC), is developing the near infrared camera (NIRCam) component of the James Webb Space Telescope for NASA. The ATC is using MakerBot 3D printers to fabricate many of the camera parts. It's interesting that a large company like Lockheed would choose MakerBots, but there's no denying they're a well established brand.

The telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018, will orbit the sun-earth second Lagrange point (L2) which is about 0.9 million miles from the earth. In order to avoid the shadows of the earth and moon, the telescope will be placed in a halo orbit about L2. The region near L2 is a gravitational saddle point where an object can maintain a constant distance from the earth and sun throughout the year. Doing so only requires small periodic corrections.

The James Webb Space Telescope was conceived by NASA in 1996 six years after the launch of the Hubble Telescope. The new telescope will use the near infrared camera which can sense from long-wavelength visible to mid-infrared light with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.

This makes it possible to see objects that would otherwise be obscured by dust and gas clouds. Cool objects less than several thousand degrees in temperature will also be visible because they cool off by emitting infrared radiation. Finally, the telescope will be able to see further into the distant universe because light coming from such far away objects will be red shifted which the camera is optimized to sense.

The use of aerospace 3d printing for development of this camera, was spearheaded by John Camp, a former mechanical engineer at ATC. In addition to the usual benefits derived from these printers, they also allowed engineers to make efficient use of their time by enabling them to test part ideas on 3D printed replicas of components that were unavailable because they were being tested in a cryogenic chamber. These lengthy tests simulate the cold vacuum of space.