Mitsubishi Electric Develops Technology for the Freeform Printing of Satellite Antennas in Outer Space

On-orbit manufacturing and deployment of a satellite antenna in space (from left). (Credit: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation)

New photosensitive resin harnesses solar radiation for low-power 3D printing in vacuum

TOKYO, May 17, 2022 – Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today that the company has developed an on-orbit additive-manufacturing technology that uses photosensitive resin and solar ultraviolet light for the 3D printing of satellite antennas in the vacuum of outer space. The novel technology makes use of a newly developed liquid resin that was custom formulated for stability in vacuum. The resin enables structures to be fabricated in space using a low-power process that utilizes the sun’s ultraviolet rays for photopolymerization.

The technology specifically addresses the challenge of equipping small, inexpensive spacecraft buses with large structures, such as high-gain antenna reflectors, and enables on-orbit fabrication of structures that greatly exceed the dimensions of launch vehicle fairings. Resin-based on-orbit manufacturing is expected to enable spacecraft structures to be made thinner and lighter than conventional designs, which must survive the stresses of launch and orbital insertion, thereby reducing both total satellite weight and launch costs.

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Epsilon Launches 9 Japanese Technology Demonstration Satellites

Epsilon launch (Credit: JAXA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched nine technology demonstration satellites on Tuesday, Nov. 9, aboard an Epsilon booster from the Uchinoura Space Center.

The payloads include a small satellite named RApid Innovative payload demonstration SatellitE-2 (RAISE-2), four microsatellites and four CubeSats that will demonstrate 14 technologies. The flight was done under JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program.

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JAXA Selects 15 Innovative Micro Satellite Demonstration Projects

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has established a basic mission that uses micro satellites as part of the “environmental maintenance for stable supply of core parts of space systems” shown in the Basic Space Plan.

We are advancing the “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program” with the aim of conducting on-orbit verification of parts and new elemental technology in a timely and inexpensive manner.

We would like to inform you that we are soliciting demonstration themes for “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Unit 3” and selected the demonstration themes (15 in total) from the 23 themes that we applied for, as shown below.

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Mitsubishi Electric Completes New Satellite Production Facility

New facility at Kamakura Works (Credit: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation)

https://www.mitsubishielectric.com/news/2020/0218-b.page

TOKYO, February 18, 2020  (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation PR) – Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today that it has completed construction of a new facility for the production of satellites at the company’s Kamakura Works in Kamakura, Japan. Together with existing facilities, Mitsubishi Electric’s combined annual capacity will increase to 18 satellites, up from 10 at present, which will enable the company to satisfy the growing demand for governmental satellites in Japan and commercial communication satellites worldwide.

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