Fleet Space Technologies uses 3D printing technology and 3D systems expertise to create RF patch antennas

you think Fleet Space Technologies ? The space agency recently announced that it has successfully launched its 12-kilogram satellite into orbit. As part of its project, the company is constantly studying how well AM can be integrated into the development of its network of low-power satellites. It is currently working on developing its patch antenna that will power the development of the next fully additively-produced Alpha micro-constellation, scheduled for launch in 2023.

With this in mind, the team of the Australian company is currently working Application Innovation Group 3D Systems (AIG), a consulting group known for developing key applications using additive manufacturing technologies with companies in vertical sectors.

In this particular case, the combination of Fleet Space Technology’s unique design and 3D systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) expertise allowed them to architect a complete additive manufacturing solution – including process and manufacturing development on 3D printers. DMP Flex 350 – Allows companies to go from existing fleet space RF patch design to small batch production in just three weeks.

Fleet’s Alpha Constellation represents a significant step forward in our mission to unlock the potential of truly global connectivity, creating global benefits for applications such as finding more sustainable and effective critical minerals. “, said Flavia Tata Nardini, founder and CEO of Fleet Space Technologies. ” To achieve this, we are constantly seeking to find other ways to develop our technology to deliver exceptional quality at scale and in a cost-effective manner. With 3D Systems AIG, we are unlocking the tremendous potential of additive manufacturing at our world-class facility in Adelaide, South Australia. This technology will enable our staff to develop production processes that will realize the ambition of launching a fleet of more than 140 satellites into low orbit in the Alpha constellation. »

According to a press release, Fleet Space Technologies is commissioning a DMP Flex 350 printer at its headquarters in Beverley, Adelaide, to internalize its patch antenna production. The printer will be used to create RF patch antennas for each Alpha satellite operating in a low Earth orbit constellation as part of Fleet Space Technology’s Exosphere initiative for mineral exploration with minimal environmental impact.

From an engineering perspective, it should be noted that the antenna design meets size, weight, and performance requirements while minimizing the need for post-processing. 3DXpert® software supports every step of the additive manufacturing workflow, from design to post-processing. In the production phase, the DMP Flex 350 3D printer uses two materials: Laserform AlSi10Mg And Al6061-RAM2.

DMP Flex 350’s unique vacuum chamber architecture, which maintains a low oxygen environment (<25 ppm). Not only is the use of argon gas greatly reduced, the 3D system says, but the vacuum chamber architecture produces a finer surface finish with fine detail that minimizes signal loss.

Using a combination of these technologies, the team was able to produce 55 RF patch antennas per build on the DMP Flex 350.

Our work with Fleet Space Technologies is another example of how 3D systems are helping aerospace customers accelerate innovation and reduce risk in the development of additive manufacturing applications. “, said Michael Shepard, vice president of aerospace and defense at 3D Systems. ” We achieve this by partnering with our customers to provide an application solution tailored to their needs along with hardware, materials, software and services. In this case, we were able to help Fleet Space Technologies set up a viable manufacturing process for their in-house satellite hardware in a very short period of time. »

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