The scientists and engineers saw their hard work come alive as they watched the first satellite to be 3-D printed in space take shape. Engineering students at NNU in Nampa, Idaho, were selected by NASA to design and submit plans for a cubesat to be 3-D printed on the International Space Station. The project has been in the works for three years.
"It's kind of bittersweet to see it come to an end after spending so much time on it," Braden Grim, NNU engineering graduate and one of the project's lead designers, said.
Once printing is complete, the pieces will be snapped together with solar cell and electronics boards by the astronaut crew and deployed directly into orbit. The printing took about six hours.
"To be able to, in just a short amount of time after launching it, [be able to] check it out on our laptops and be able to see that it's working is a very cool concept, and it'll be an exciting day," Grim said.
"Right during the printing of the satellite, the ISS flew directly over Idaho, which is just the icing on the cake," Dr. Steve Park, NNU professor of electrical engineering, said.