Cost reduction in aerospace through additive manufacturing

IDS case study: additive in space

Cost reduction in aerospace through additive manufacturing

Spacecrafts are developed, tested and fully assembled on Earth and transported in one piece by a launch vehicle to their respective places of operation. Each component must be able to withstand the extreme conditions during the launch phase.

In most cases, this leads to oversized spacecraft components, in addition to complex test procedures, that are necessary because of the forces they must endure during rocket launch.

At the same time, the rocket is space restricted, which limits the design of the spacecraft from the outset. The search is on for processes that expand the possibilities of future space missions, save resources and reduce costs.

One approach is to manufacture spacecraft components directly in orbit using generative manufacturing. Generative technologies enable efficient and agile production of components on site.

The AIMIS-FYT team at the Munich University of Applied Sciences is developing and researching an additive manufacturing process for this purpose in which the production of components takes place in zero gravity. The equipment needed for space travel do not have to meet the high launch requirements, but can be tailored precisely to the mission requirements. The process is being researched on parabolic flights in zero gravity - supported by a uEye CP industrial camera from IDS.