Femtosatellite launcher 3D printed in space

17 Nov

Femtosatellite launcher 3D printed in space

winner of last year’s International Space Station (ISS) Design Challenge, a 3D printable satellite launcher has been 3D printed in space. This device was designed by an engineer from California Andy Filo and it got selected for the best prize by Mouser Electronics Inc. and MythBuster’s Grant Imahara. Last year in November, the outcome of the ISS Design Challenge was reported, it is basically a contest that encourages makers from all over the world for making 3D printed satellite launcher designs for a 3D printed vice and a 3D printed pair of tongs for eating food in space.

Who’s behind the ISS Design Challenge?

Electronics company Mouser Electronics and celebrity engineer Grant Imahara, the two main parties behind the ISS Design Challenge, have now announced that Filo’s 3D printed satellite launcher has been 3D printed in space. They report that the device is now in orbit and could someday be used by astronauts for a variety of missions.

Celebrity engineer Grant Imahara and Electronics Company Mouser Electronics was behind the ISS Design Challenge recently announced that the 3D printed satellite by Filo was printed in space. They reported that the device is currently in the orbit and someday it could be utilized by astronauts for many missions.


The 3D printed satellite launcher permits space travelers to dispatch modest, sub-100-gram "femtosatellites" in zero gravity conditions. These femtosatellites can be utilized to study Earth's condition, screen earthbound fiascos, and even fly in arrangement for making a giant antenna. Filo's plan was looked over 242 entries, after which it was transmitted to the ISS as a 3D printable document.

The 3D printed femtosatellite launcher was 3D printed on the ISS’s Additive manufacturing facility 3D printer on April 3rd it was made in space afterwards. Filo made some last minute alterations to its design. These progressions included making the handle rounder for better comfort and altering the design for increased printing speed.

Filo’s 3D printed satellite launcher- A simple device

Filo’s 3D printed satellite launcher is a simple device that uses a satellite’s own antenna as a launching mechanism. Several satellites can be stored in slots within the launcher, with special pins used to hold their compressed antenna in place. When one of these pins is removed, the antenna of the satellite functions like an uncoiled spring, propelling the satellite out into orbit. The launcher thus functions as a kind of “mothership” for femtosatellites.

The 3D printed satellite launcher by Filo is an example of a simpler device, which uses the own antenna for launching mechanism. Some satellites can be stocked in slots inside the launcher with some special pins that keeps their compressed antenna in place. After the pins are removed the antenna of the satellite functions like an uncoiled spring that pushes the satellite out in the space.The launcher subsequently works as a sort of "mothership" for femtosatellites.

"Mouser is eager to be a piece of new and inventive undertakings that unite designers and creators from around the globe and—for this situation—past," said Glenn Smith, President and CEO of Mouser Electronics. "Andy's femtosatellite-propelling gadget addresses the issues of space explorers and in addition terrestrial specialists and designers.

Image Credits : Mouser.com ISS Project Challenge

Chris Joel (Author)

Femtosatellite launcher 3D printed in space
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.