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First 3D printed part is going to the Moon

(11 February 2019 - RUAG Space) A 3D engine mount from RUAG Space will be the first 3D printed part on the moon. The lunar lander of the private Israeli company SpaceIL is scheduled for launch on 18 February.

The spacecraft will use a 3D printed aluminum structure developed by RUAG Space for its main engine. “Our 3D part will support landing and lift off of the spacecraft on the moon”, explains Peter Guggenbach, CEO RUAG Space, Europe’s leading space supplier. RUAG Space is a pioneer in offering 3D Printing solutions to space. Since 2014 RUAG Space has developed space components based on Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) technology. RUAG Space designed the part and qualified it for space. For the production of the 3D printed structure RUAG Space contracted U.S. Company MORF3D, a leader in Additive Manufacturing solutions for the Aerospace industry.

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3D printed bracket (courtesy: RUAG Space)

3D Printing: quicker and lighter

“With 3D Printing our customers profit from a quicker and more cost-efficiently production”, says Guggenbach. Compared to conventional processes, 3D Printing offers a host of benefits. 3D Printing enables to produce lighter metal or plastic components. “Weight reduction is a decisive factor in the space industry”, says Guggenbach. “The lighter the satellite, the lower the costs. Every kilogram less saves money, since less energy is needed for sending the satellite into orbit.” Apart from lighter parts 3D Printing also allows, to produce geometries that provide higher performance at a lower mass compared to conventional production means.

Two-month journey in space

SpaceIL’s mission would represent the first non-governmental landing on the moon. The launch will take place mid-February, and the moon landing will be at the end of a two-month journey in space, after the launch. After landing on the lunar surface the spacecraft would send back photos and videos as well as data about the moon’s magnetic field.

About RUAG Space

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, and has a growing presence in the United States with already five production and engineering facilities. In total, the RUAG Space has about 1,300 employees across six countries. RUAG Space develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles—playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology group RUAG. RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace and defense for use on land, in the air and in space.