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KySat-2, a 1U CubeSat
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3D-printed mounting hardware for camera system built with Windform XT 2.0.
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Mounting bracket for the on board batteries built using Windform XT 2,0.
3D printed parts have been launched into space on the KySat-2 satellite, a 1U CubeSat, built and tested by students of the University of Kentucky and Morehead University together with Kentucky Space acting as mission manager and coordinator.
CRP USA has announced the successful launch of Windform as part of the project. The team launched the KySat-2 into orbit as part of the NASA ElaNa IV mission from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Just 35 minutes after lift off, the satellite began to send down its telemetry data, which was almost instantly picked up by amateur radio operators. Ever since, Ky-SAT-2 has been performing system checks for each of the many subsystems that make up with sophisticated piece of hardware, which is tasked with being both an educational and demonstration tool for students.
CRP USA's 3D printing material Windform XT 2.0 was used to make several of the components on the satellite.
Project manager of Kentucky Space Twyman Clements said: "One of the subsystems, is the camera systems that acts as an attitude determination system called Stellar Gyro. The 3D-printed parts were produced using the additive manufacturing technology selective laser sintering (SLS) and Windform XT 2.0 material. The additive manufactured process 3D printed the mounting hardware for the camera system, extensions for the separation switches, clips for holding the antennas in their stowed position and the mounting bracket for the on board batteries. The process and the material were critical to achieve the right components for KySat-2."
CRP USA Director of Operations Stewart Davis expressed the company's pleasure in Windform materials playing a part in this exciting project.
"Congratulations to the KySat-2 team on a very successful launch," he said. "We are excited for the KySat-2 team and are looking forward to following their mission. As part of our overall work to expand the use of Windform beyond motorsports, this launch is another successful project that continues to add to our growing space flight heritage."
3D Printing and Materials for Space Applications
CRP USA together with CRP Technology produced five Windform XT 2.0 parts that are incorporated into the deployable solar panels on the KySat-2; camera annulus, lens cover, deployable extensions, antenna clips, and battery holders. One of the highest levels of Windform materials, Windform XT 2.0 is a high performance material filled with carbon fibre and offers maximum mechanical performance for 3D printed parts. The material combines maximum toughness and robustness, yet produces an extremely light, final part that doesn’t impact the overall production weight of the KySat-2 unit. Utilising SLS and Windform XT 2.0 material final parts for small productions means parts that are usually produced with traditional technology can be easily replaced. This makes Windform a material that can stretch the limits of SLS applications, even in space applications.
KySat-2 was launched on board a Minotaur I rocket built by Orbital Sciences. Typically, operational lifetime for a CubeSat is around one year due to radiation exposure and damage to the batteries. The KySat-2 will remain operational as long as the team is able to make reliable contact to the satellite. Testing has already begun on the subsystems and the team is hopeful they will be able to take pictures and download them from the spacecraft in the next few weeks.