Soon, world's first 3D-printed space camera
Posted on Aug 12 2014 | IANS
New York, Aug 12 : Come September, NASA plans to have the first 3D-printed space camera to give space exploration a new dimension.
"We are the first to attempt to build an entire instrument with 3D printing," said Jason Budinoff, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.
Budinoff is building a 2-inch camera for a cubesat - a miniature satellite, space.com reported.
The camera will have to pass vibration and thermal-vacuum tests next year to prove that it's capable of space travel.
Budinoff is also using 3D printing to build a 14-inch dual-channel telescope.
To build the 3D-printed instruments, first a computer-controlled laser melts down a pile of metal powder.
It then fuses the melted metal into a specific configuration determined by a 3D computer design.
The instruments are built and assembled layer by layer - like slices of bread from a loaf.
The 3D printers could reduce the overall cost of building space exploring instruments in the near future, the report added.