Sener aeroespacial and catec 3d print metal antenna for esa’s proba-3 space mission
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SENER Aeroespacial and CATEC 3D print metallic antenna for ESA’s PROBA-Three house mission

SENER Aeroespacial, the aerospace arm of Spanish engineering and know-how group SENER, and the Centre for Superior Aerospace Applied sciences (CATEC) in Seville, have collaborated to develop a 3D printed metallic antenna for the European House Company (ESA)’s PROBA-Three house mission.

The helical antenna was 3D printed utilizing an aluminum alloy, and represents the primary occasion through which SENER Aeroespacial has used metallic 3D printing to supply such a tool. It was manufactured for ESA as a part of a whole supply of telemetry and telecommand antennas for the PROBA-Three mission, for which SENER Aeroespacial is the prime contractor. 

The antenna reaffirms using 3D printing in its place manufacturing course of for SENER Aeroespacial and CATEC in conditions the place typical applied sciences will not be viable. The half can also be reportedly the primary additive manufactured antenna produced in Spain. 

“SENER Aeroespacial got here to us in 2016 with the problem of creating a helical antenna for the European House Company, and with an actual likelihood of flying,” commented Dr. Fernando Lasagni, Technical Director (Supplies & Processes) at CATEC. 

“The purposeful necessities of this product take to the bounds additive manufacturing because of the dimensional tolerances for producing such a posh geometry.”

Rendering of the 3D printed helical antenna. Picture by way of SENER.

3D printing antennas for satellite tv for pc house formation

Based in 1956, SENER gives engineering companies, gear and system integration for house, astronomy, protection, aeronautics, and automobile industries. The corporate’s inroad into the aerospace sector, and subsequent formation of SENER Aeroespacial, got here in 1967 when SENER was contracted to design and construct a rocket launch tower for the European House Analysis Organisation (ESRO), forerunner of ESA. 

Just lately, SENER Aeroespacial has offered a number of antenna pointing programs for ESA’s fundamental science missions similar to BepiColombo, Photo voltaic Orbiter, Euclid and Juice. At the moment, as the principle contractor of the PROBA-Three mission, it’s main a consortium of European firms from greater than 10 international locations in supporting the mission. 

ESA’s PROBA-Three is a precision formation flight mission supposed to validate new spacecraft applied sciences whereas additionally carrying scientific devices. As a part of the mission, a pair of satellites will journey collectively in a hard and fast configuration in an effort to take a look at the applied sciences for flying in formation, appearing as one “giant, inflexible construction” in house. PROBA-Three is scheduled for launch in late 2020. 

SENER Aeroespacial and CATEC 3D print metallic antenna for ESA's PROBA-Three house missionA floating European House Company astronaut patch containing flags of all of the member states within the Worldwide House Station’s cupola window. Photograph by way of ESA/NASA

Validating the antenna for PROBA-Three

For the PROBA-Three mission, SENER Aeroespacial and CATEC’s 3D printed aluminum alloy antenna was subjected to demanding qualification checks. CATEC, which has earlier expertise utilizing 3D printing in aerospace, supported SENER Aeroespacial within the design and validation of the antenna particularly for compliance with ESA’s rigorous verification course of. This resulted in acquiring the flight acceptance for the PROBA-Three mission. 

“SENER Aeroespacial discovered the proper associate and ally in CATEC to attain the difficult aim of producing and qualifying the primary 3D printed metallic antenna, with all the benefits that entails, whereas sustaining each radio-frequency and thermo-mechanical efficiency,” acknowledged Esteban Celemín, Mission Supervisor for the PROBA-Three antennas at SENER Aeroespacial.

3D printing at ESA

ESA has demonstrated an intensive effort in the direction of using the advantages of 3D printing for the house business. Just lately the company undertook a mission on the College Hospital of Dresden Technical College (TUD) the place it proved the flexibility to 3D print organic matter in a space-like surroundings. Having efficiently 3D bioprinted a specifically formulated ink in minus 1g circumstances, ESA hopes that the fabric may very well be used for the medical remedy of astronauts on long-term exploration missions.

In January 2019, ESA, alongside German know-how group OHB SE, launched a consortium to develop a large-scale 3D printer to be used in zero-gravity circumstances. Named the IMPERIAL Mission, the consortium consists of German aerospace firm Sonaca Group, Portuguese 3D printer supplier BEEVERYCREATIVE, and Eire’s Athlone Institute of Expertise (AIT). The 3D printer will reportedly have the ability to produce objects bigger than itself, and due to this fact defy construct quantity restraints within the course of.

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Featured picture reveals Proba-Three satellites forming synthetic eclipse. Picture by way of ESA.

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