26 May 2016 Enablement of scientific remote sensing missions with in-space 3D printing
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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.
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Michael Hirsch, Michael Hirsch, Thomas McGuire, Thomas McGuire, Michael Parsons, Michael Parsons, Skye Leake, Skye Leake, Jeremy Straub, Jeremy Straub, } "Enablement of scientific remote sensing missions with in-space 3D printing", Proc. SPIE 9854, Image Sensing Technologies: Materials, Devices, Systems, and Applications III, 985413 (26 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223467; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2223467
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