Metal additive manufacturing technology manufacturer Titomic will create radiation shielding for South Australian company Fleet Space Technologies’ first Alpha satellites in 2023 – expected to be the world’s first fully 3D printed satellites.
Titomic will use its Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology to mitigate ionizing radiation to prolong the satellite’s lifespan through a cold spray additive manufacturing and coating process which allows deposition and fusion of dissimilar metals.
To provide radiation shielding, the TKF technology will fuse thin layers of material to produce customised, multi-material radiation shielding in a range of areal densities that are tailored to Alpha’s specific mission.
The Alpha satellites will form a constellation that will transfer customer data from remote areas which are not serviced by terrestrial communications.
Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini, said additive manufacturing was well suited to the increasingly innovative approach needed to to deliver satellite technology at scale.
She said: “Alpha represents a major step forward, as it will be the first time a satellite has been created entirely through 3D-printing.
“Additive manufacturing has the further advantage of allowing us to manufacture more components in-house, ensuring supply chain stability and offering greater flexibility in our engineering approach.”
The successful application of TKF technology was accelerated by the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant, which funded testing and simulation by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at its Lucas Heights facility.
The grant activities also support Titomic’s collaboration with Boeing to create parts with ‘green’ titanium.
ANSTO’s Dr Rob Acres said: “ANSTO’s involvement in this project ensured Titomic was able to turnaround design quickly, and deliver new capabilities to the sector through ANSTO’s nuclear science and technology expertise.”
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