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July 25th, 2017

Russia - 3D Printed Smallsat To Launch from ISS in August

Photo of the Tomsk-TPU-120 is courtesy of Tomsk Polytechnic University.

On August 17, the Russian crew of the International Space Station (ISS) will launch the first 3D printed Russian satellite into space.

The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite has been a resident at ISS since the spring of 2016, awaiting its launch, according to the press service of the Tomsk Polytechnic University. The satellite's systems are being checked and the spacecraft's batteries charged from the onboard equipment at ISS.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergei Ryazansky will perform the launch. The satellite will remain in space from four to six months. The satellite will report the temperatures on board, on plates and batteries, and the parameters of electronic components — scientists will then be able watch the various states of the satellite's materials to understand whether those elements could be used further in the construction of space apparatuses.

The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite is the first Russian space probe built with the aid of 3D technologies and specially selected materials. The smallsat’s length is 30 cm and the width and height are 11 cm. The smallsat was developed by the Tomsk Polytechnic University in collaboration with the Energiya Aerospace Corporation and the Institute for Studies of the Physics of Strength and Material Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Siberia.

Somewhat earlier, a consortium developing groups of small robotic space probes weighing from the 3 kg to 30 kg was set up in Russia. Researchers have trust in the bright prospects for groupings of these probes in the future, saying that once the latter form orbital clusters they will be even be able to repair one another in orbit. Russian space authorities hope to put two grouping of small-size satellites into space in the next two years.

The Russian cosmonauts are due to head into the open space in August  and that's when the satellite will be launched "by hand" from the ISS' outer surface.

Article sourced from Tass.