The European Space Agency (ESA) has optimized the use of 3D printing for manufacturing pure copper electromagnetic coils. This initiative is part of the ESA’s General Support Technology Programme (GSTP), which marks its 30th anniversary. The GSTP has engaged over 2,000 research contracts to advance space exploration technology alongside European industry and academia. The coils, vital for electric motors and satellite attitude control, are produced with laser powder bed fusion, with additional refinements to the process by Zarm Technik in Germany.
This development reflects ESA’s ongoing strategy to maintain a competitive edge in spaceflight technology. The GSTP, though optional, sees unanimous participation from ESA member states, indicating its value and success. The printed coils signify a step toward more complex designs and efficient production methods. These advancements not only support ESA’s space missions but also enhance the stature of the European space sector internationally.
The recent advancements in additive manufacturing are poised to improve space hardware construction and operation. Such technologies are crucial for ESA to continue leading in space technology. As the GSTP enters its fourth decade, ESA is leveraging its rich heritage of research and development to ensure its missions are equipped with cutting-edge technology.
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