Lock­heed Martin’s 3D printed parts for US mil­i­tary satel­lites

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE DEVELOPMENTS -

When the US Air Force’s sixth Ad­vanced Ex­tremely High Fre­quency (AEHF-6) satel­lite launches into space, a 3D printed part will be along for the ride. A Re­mote In­ter­face Unit, an alu­minium elec­tronic en­clo­sure de­signed to hold avionic cir­cuits, will be the first 3D printed part cer­ti­fied for use on a Lock­heed Martin mil­i­tary satel­lite.

By go­ing from mul­ti­ple ma­chined parts to one 3D printed part, the team was able to save time in the de­sign and pro­duc­tion cy­cle, as well as in­crease the qual­ity and con­sis­tency of the units. The lead time for man­u­fac­tur­ing the part went from six months to only 1.5 months, with as­sem­bly time also be­ing re­duced from 12 hours to just three hours.

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