LOCKHEED MARTIN PRODUCES ITS LARGEST 3D PRINTED PARTS FOR SPACE

3dprintingindustry.com | 7/13/2018 | Tia Vialva
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Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company based in Maryland, has produced two large titanium 3D printed domes for a high-pressure tank responsible for holding fuel on-board orbiting satellites.

Measuring at 46 inches in diameter, the titanium domes which were fabricated using Sciaky’s Electronic Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) technology, are Lockheed Martin’s largest 3D printed parts.

Domes - Part - Development - Program - Satellite

The two domes were created as part of a multi-year development program to create giant, high-powered, all-mission capable satellite buses, known as the LM 2100 series.

“Our largest 3D printed parts to date show we’re committed to a future where we produce satellites twice as fast and at half the cost,” said Rick Ambrose, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space.

Fuel - Tank - Lockheed - Martin - Satellites

The new fuel tank for Lockheed Martin’s largest satellites which features two 3D printed domes. Photo via Lockheed Martin.

In 2014, Lockheed Martin became the second customer to purchase the large-scale EBAM system and has used its technology to create titanium propulsion tanks measuring at 15 inches in diameter. This 3D printed technology efficiently produces high-performance parts using an electron beam gun to deposit layers of metal via a wire feedstock.

Turbulence - Space - Missions - Satellite - Fuel

Due to launch turbulence and decade-long space missions, satellite fuel tanks must be durable and lightweight, making titanium a suitable material for the domes. Rather than using traditional forging methods, which can take over a year to complete, Lockheed Martin leveraged the EBAM system to eliminate significant lead times.

“We self-funded this design and qualification effort as an investment in helping our customers move faster and save costs,” added Ambrose. “We shaved off 87 percent of the schedule to build the domes, reducing the total delivery timeline from two years to three months.”

Scale - Domes - Placement - Tank - Location

This infographic shows the scale of the 3D printed domes, their placement on the tank and overall location within an LM 2100 satellite. Image via Lockheed...
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