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First Russian 3D Printed Tomsk Satellite Deployed from ISS

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As we anticipated last month (see below), during today’s Spacewalk, Russian cosmonauts deployed the Tomsk Polytechnic satellite, the very first Russian satellite built using 3D printing for several parts including the external casing.

TASS: The Russian crew of the International Space Station (ISS) on August 17 launched into the open space the first 3D printed Russian satellite. The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite has been at ISS since spring 2016, awaiting deployment into space, press service of the Tomsk Polytechnic University said on Monday.

“On Monday, the satellite’s systems will be checked, and its batteries will be charged from the Station onboard equipment,” the press service said. “The launch is scheduled for August 17.”

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergei Ryazansky will perform the launch. The satellite will remain in the open space for the term of four to six months. It will report to the Earth the temperatures on board, on plates and batteries, and parameters of electronic components. Thus, scientists would be able watch states of materials to understand whether they could be used further in construction of space apparatuses.

 The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite is the first Russian space probe built with the aid of 3D technologies and specially selected materials. The nanosatellite’s length is 30cm, the width and height are 11cm. It was developed by the Tomsk Polytechnic University in collaboration with the Energiya Aerospace Corporation and the Institute for Studies of the Physics of Strength and Material Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Siberia.

Somewhat earlier, a consortium developing groups of small robotic space probes weighing from the 3 kg to 30 kg was set up in Russia. Researchers have trust in the bright prospects for groupings of these probes in the future, saying that once the latter form orbital clusters they will be even be able to repair one another in orbit. Russian space authorities hope to put two grouping of small-size satellites into space in the next two years.

The Russian cosmonauts are due to go into the open space in August 2017, when the satellite will be launched “by hand” from the Station’s outer surface.

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