(Mercury News, 08/17/17)
Spacewalking cosmonauts set free the world’s first satellite made almost entirely with a 3-D printer on Thursday.
In total, Russians Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy ended up releasing five nanosatellites by hand. One by one, the tiny craft — no more than 1 to 2 feet in size — tumbled safely away from the International Space Station.
The exterior casing of the first one tossed overboard was made with a 3-D printer. So were the battery packs inside. Researchers want to see how 3-D-made parts weather the space environment.
The 3-D satellite contains regular electronics. It also holds greetings to planet Earth in a variety of languages, courtesy of students at Siberia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University, where the satellite was made.
The other satellites deployed Thursday have traditional spacecraft parts.