Winning femtosatellite launch device design 3D-printed in space, now in orbit

DALLAS. The winning design in Mouser Electronics Inc.’s International Space Station (ISS) Design Challenge has been 3D-printed in space. The winning design, a satellite-launching device, is now in orbit and may one day be used by astronauts for a variety of missions.

Winning femtosatellite launch device design 3D-printed in space, now in orbit
Winning femtosatellite launch device design 3D-printed in space, now in orbit

DALLAS. The winning design in Mouser Electronics Inc.’s International Space Station (ISS) Design Challenge has been 3D-printed in space. The winning design, a satellite-launching device, is now in orbit and may one day be used by astronauts for a variety of missions.

Cupertino (Calif.)-based engineer Andy Filo designed the device, which allows astronauts to launch femtosatellites, tiny satellites roughly the size of a postage stamp and weighing less than 100 grams, in zero gravity. Scientists can use femtosatellites in many different missions and applications, including monitoring disasters, studying Earth’s environment, and flying in formation to create a giant antenna for deep space analysis.

Winning femtosatellite launch device design 3D-printed in space, now in orbitWinning femtosatellite launch device design 3D-printed in space, now in orbit
The winning design of Mouser Electronics’ International Space Station (I.S.S.) Design Challenge has been 3D-printed aboard the I.S.S. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Mouser is excited to be part of new and innovative projects that bring together engineers and makers from around the world and — in this case — beyond,” says Glenn Smith, president and CEO of Mouser Electronics. “Andy’s femtosatellite-launching device meets the needs of astronauts as well as earthbound researchers and engineers.”

Filo’s femtosatellite project was chosen from 242 entries and digitally transmitted to the ISS, where it was 3D-printed by Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) — the first commercially available off-world manufacturing service and the only 3D printer adapted for use in the vacuum of space.

Made In Space and Filo made some last-minute modifications after ISS received the original design, rounding the handle to increase usability and comfort and further editing the design to increase printing speed.

The ISS Design Challenge is part of the Empowering Innovation Together program, which features the Innovation Lab for new projects ranging from bringing superhero technology to life to 3D printing a semi-autonomous car with drone technology.

Mouser’s suppliers Amphenol and Intel are co-sponsors of the ISS Design Challenge. Mouser also partnered with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Made In Space, along with Hackster and MacroFab.

Mouser Electronics, a subsidiary of TTI Inc., is part of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Mouser is an authorized semiconductor and electronic component distributor focused on rapid New Product Introductions from its manufacturing partners for electronic design engineers and buyers. Mouser.com features more than 4 million products from more than 600 manufacturers. Mouser ships globally to over 500,000 customers in 170 countries from its 750,000 sq. ft. facility south of Dallas, Texas.

Search the Aerospace & Defense Buyer's Guide


The go-to resource for Intelligent Aerospace technology news & information:

Covering key topics
  • Avionics & Electronics in the Cockpit
  • Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFEC) & Other Electronics in the Cabin
  • Satellite and Space, including satellite communications
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) & Airport Infrastructure
  • Engineering Design, Development, and Test
  • Maintenance, repair, and overhaul
  • Rotorcraft, including Helicopters, Tiltrotors & Innovative Vertical Lift Aircraft
  • Software, including Coding, Test, Verification, and More
  • Training & Simulation

  • Across all market segments
  • Commercial aviation
  • Military aviation
  • General aviation
  • Space

  • Subscribe to the free Intelligent Inbox e-newsletter

    Subscribe to receive all the latest aerospace technology news & information, delivered directly to your e-mail inbox twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Sign upfor your free subscription to the Intelligent Inbox e-newsletter at http://www.intelligent-aerospace.com/subscribe.html.

    Connect on social media

    Keep pace with aerospace innovation and opportunities via your favorite social media channels. Connect with Intelligent Aerospace on Twitter (@IntelligentAero), LinkedIn,Google+, and Instagram.

    Intelligent Aerospace, the global aerospace technology network, reports on the latest tools, technologies, and trends of vital importance to aerospace professionals throughout the industry and around the globe, including engineers, engineering managers, and other key decision-makers involved in the research & development, design, test, manufacture, maintenance, upgrade and retrofit, management, and acquisition of electronics hardware and software components, tools, and systems for commercial and military fixed-wing, rotor-wing, and unmanned aircraft, air traffic control, airport operations, satellites, and space.

    More in SATCOM