Fleet Space Technologies launches expanded manufacturing facility and new state-of-the-art 3D printer.
This new technology will greatly improve Fleet Space’s capabilities, allowing it to develop and manufacture new products in-house, paving the way for fully 3D-printed Alpha satellites.
Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO and founder of Fleet Space Technologies, says bringing 3D printing capabilities completely in-house will increase efficiency from design to manufacturing, making the entire process more cost-effective. and said that by becoming fully autonomous, shipping and delivery delays would be eliminated. sourcing.
The 3D printer is at the heart of Fleet Space’s newly expanded manufacturing facility in Adelaide, South Australia, which now employs over 80 staff.
This new machine from Konica Minolta uses Direct Metal Printing (DMP) technology, which uses a laser to weld thin layers of metal powder together to produce highly complex metal parts. DMP offers unlimited design flexibility and overcomes many of the shape and surface retention limitations imposed by traditional manufacturing techniques.
The 3D printer will initially be used to manufacture the S-band antenna RF patches already used in the company’s existing satellite constellations. These antennas send and receive signals between the constellation in low earth orbit and portals and modems on the ground.
In the future, engineers will use it to manufacture structural components for the new generation of Alpha satellites, optimizing weight and enhancing vertical integration.
By reducing turnaround times and enabling low-risk prototyping, 3D printers also enable more efficient R&D in areas such as filters and other passive RF components.
“We are leveraging our existing knowledge and experience with 3D printing of antennas and structural parts. And this is just a starting point. You will be able to use it to develop new designs and manufacture circuit boards and other electrical components.
This is also another important step towards our goal of producing a fully 3D printed Alpha satellite. 3D printers are one step closer to mass-producing a 288-satellite constellation, and we estimate to produce between four and eight satellites each month,” he explained Nardini.