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TPU to launch world’s first 3D-printed satellite

03 March 2016

A 3D-printed satellite assembled at Tomsk Polytechnic University is scheduled to launch from the International Space Station (ISS) to the 120th anniversary of the school.

Image courtesy of TPU

TPU (Tomsk Polytechnic University) handled the satellite to RSC “Energia”, where final preparations will take place for shipment to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. “Tomsk-TPU-120” satellite delivery on the ISS will be held on 31 March.

During the next spacewalk ISS astronauts will launch the satellite from the outer surface of the station. The satellite will orbit at 400km. The term of its operation in space will last about six months.

The TPU satellite refers to nanosatellites (CubSat) and has dimensions of 300x100x100mm. It will be the world's first space vehicle, which housing was 3D-printed. In the future, the technology can be a breakthrough in the creation of small satellites and make them more massive and accessible.

The device was designed in the TPU scientific and educational centre “modern production technologies”. Materials which made the satellite were developed by scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University and the Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science.

The TPU satellite was built to test new technology of space materials science and a series of the university developments and its partners.

Various sensors will record the temperature of the board, the plates, batteries and electronics data. This data will be transmitted to Earth in real time mode. According to the data, scientists will be able to analyse the condition of the materials and decide whether they will be used in the construction of the prospective spacecrafts.

To be reminded that in May 2016 Tomsk Polytechnic University celebrates 120 years since its foundation. Therefore, according to polytechnicer idea, the satellite “Tomsk-TPU-120” will have to transmit a greeting to Earth inhabitants, recorded by students of the university in 10 languages: Russian, English, German, French, Chinese, Arabic, Tatar, Indian, Kazakh and Portuguese.

The greeting signal will be transmitted once a minute at the frequency 437.025MHz.

For more information visit Tomsk Polytechnic University.


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