Uncrewed Systems Technology 046

57 control) and was powered by two solar array concentrators produced by APL, each 8.5 m long when fully deployed. Ground-based telescopic observations are now being performed to measure the change in Dimorphous’ orbit as a consequence of the impact, as well as observing the effects of the impact (including any ejection and distribution of regolith) on the asteroid. Also, a CubeSat named LICIACube built by the Italian Space Agency separated from the DART before impact to help observe the collision, photography from which continues to be studied. Earth’s orbit As the commercial space sector develops, small satellites for low Earth orbit (LEO) and adjacent altitudes are being produced and launched at an increasing rate. Numerous technologies are critical enablers of this new generation of uncrewed spacecraft. Some, such as solar cells and radio transceivers, are well-known, but the important role of additive manufacturing (AM) in building small satellite craft is comparatively less well-established. The KYSAT-2 1U CubeSat for instance was launched into orbit as part of the NASA ElaNa IV mission in 2013, with a hybrid single-part additively manufactured propulsion system being used as a high-impulse thruster for small to micro cube-shaped satellites. Also, a completely additively printed satellite, the TuPOD, was the first of its kind to be launched from the ISS, being used as a CubeSat model and as a dispensing system for tube satellites called TubeSats. Notably, both of these systems were produced using CRP USA’s Windform composite AM technology, specifically a form of laser sintering called laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). “L-PBF is similar to laser sintering, but the term ‘sintering’ implies that particles aren’t fully fused, which is an inaccurate way of describing how thoroughly our powders are melted together,” says Stewart Davis, president of CRP USA. It might seem odd that a company best known for supplying racing parts is now providing critical components and services to spacecraft, but as Davis notes, “Race and space vehicles both suffer from extremely tight packaging constraints and weight limits, and need to be designed to withstand potentially massive forces. “When we look at a 1U CubeSat, which is about 10 x 10 x 10 cm, and understand that it needs to carry up a bunch of equipment for scientific experiments, that can mean a really complex structure Space vehicles | Insight Uncrewed Systems Technology | October/November 2022 The DART mission was aimed at deflecting an asteroid off its path, to better understand how to defend the Earth from possible collisions (Courtesy of NASA)