We all must have heard about the success of the Juno Spacecraft that has successfully reached Jupiter and is now encircling the outer atmosphere of the giant planet. It’s a wonderful achievement by Nasa as the spacecraft has traveled the furthest from earth than any other man made device has ever gone. The purpose of sending a spacecraft some 2.8 billion kilometers away from earth into outer space was to understand the secrets of Jupiter.
Juno's scientific payload includes:
- A gravity/radio science system (Gravity Science)
- A six-wavelength microwave radiometer for atmospheric sounding and composition (MWR)
- A vector magnetometer (MAG)
- Plasma and energetic particle detectors (JADE and JEDI)
- A radio/plasma wave experiment (Waves)
- An ultraviolet imager/spectrometer (UVS)
- An infrared imager/spectrometer (JIRAM)
Juno has devices that will measure weather the Jupiter has any solid core, it will also try to understand the mysteries of the red dot; which a huge storm tornado raging for more than a few hundred years.
During its journey across the Milky Way Juno reached 25 miles per second which made it the fastest object even made by man. Juno is certainly the space mission to look up to for the future generations of our space scientists, but did you know that Juno could not have done that without the help of a few 3d printed parts.
The Spacecraft that was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011, and entered Jupiter orbit on July 4, 2016, it was constructed by the defense giant Lockheed Martin which used 3D printing to produce about a dozen waveguide titanium brackets for the spacecraft.
To make these 3D printed joints Lockheed used Metal 3D Printers, these metal printed parts were made using power Titanium which was solidified into the required shapes using high watts electron beam. Lockheed decided to use 3D Printing as it was cost effective as well as it helped in instantaneous design changes. The company claimed that they were able to reduce the manufacturing time for the components by about 50 percent.
Lockheed, did extensive testing of these components on earth before the space craft was launched aboard the Atlas V 551 rocket on Aug. 5, 2011. These components would be exposed to extreme radiations and are expected to survive around 22 science orbits around Jupiter.
We as a 3D Printing community are extremely pleased with the results and we are sure that the furture of space exploration is impossible to be thought about without thinking of 3D printing. Good Luck Juno do us proud!