Additive manufacturing Stratasys for the ISS cosmic telescope

Posted 11 August 2020
Stratasys telescopio miniEUSO

Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) has used Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology to produce the entire mechanical structure of Mini-EUSO (Multiwavelength Imaging New Instrument for the Extreme Universe Space Observatory), a cosmic UV telescope for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Mini-EUSO telescope, recently launched into space onboard a Soyuz rocket, has been developed as part of an ad hoc bilateral agreement between the Italian Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency ‘Roscosmos’ and is set to study terrestrial and cosmic UV emissions from the ISS for the next three years.

Harnessing Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc and ULTEM 9085 material, INFN was able to produce a telescope that could meet the stringent certification requirements of the aerospace industry and ISS, while also withstanding the mechanical stresses and vibrations during the launch of the Soyuz rocket. It also proved lighter than a previous aluminium prototype and also provided better insulation for the interior electrical currents.

Using Stratasys FDM 3D printing throughout the production of the Mini-EUSO’s mechanical structure enabled to reduce the overall cost of the project by a factor of ten, as well as saving around a whole year of development time at Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati INFN.

The Mini-EUSO has been deployed on board the ISS to produce a high-resolution map of the Earth in the UV range (300-400 nm), serving to advance research on cosmic rays and as an important experiment for future space missions. It records all space and atmospheric objects within sight, which can include UV emissions from earth, transient luminous events, meteors and other space debris.

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