Flight parts, strategies and perspectives for Space Applications at Thalès Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space brings over 40 years of experience to the design, integration, testing and operation of innovative space systems for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures.
Thales Alenia Space began experimenting with 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, in 2010 starting its first collaborative R&D project and then moved on in 2013, when it produced its first few demonstrator products. In 2015, it implemented a 3D-printed part for the first time on a telecommunications satellite — an antenna horn mounting strut for TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat. Now, three years later, after the launch of SGDC 1, Telkom 3S, Koreasat 5A and 7, and Inmarsat S / Hellas Sat 3 Thales Alenia Space has orbited more than 80 3D-printed metallic parts made with aluminum or titanium alloys. One of the biggest benefits to leveraging LBM, is that it opens up new design opportunities from the very beginning. More complex and efficient shapes, mechanically speaking, become easily reachable through topology optimization process, leading to organic shapes with strong weight benefit.
3D printing allows for the manufacturing of single-piece structures, rather than the traditional method of assembling separate parts into one component, it provides a significant reduction in weight and cost while also potentially enabling new functions.
Thales Alenia Space will share some application cases of in-orbit mechanical parts obtained by LBM and will present the validation process used for these satellites parts. As a pioneer of AM for space Thales Alenia Space now contributes to pave the way for common space standards for parts validation. Some perspectives will be enhanced also for next applications of AM for space (lightweight lattices, thermal or RF applications,…).
Florence Montredon – THALES ALENIA SPACE France – Additive Manufacturing technologies development manager. Florence Montredon has an education background with Chemical and Physical Engineering. Working at THALES ALENIA SPACE since year 2000, she has more than 17 years of experience in Technologies Development and Improvement for satellites applications, for both polymer and metallic. She has started to work on Additive Manufacturing technologies in 2009 and is fully dedicated to this topic since 2015, working with a multidisciplinary team. More specifically in charge of the material and processes aspects, she is also the coordinator of all THALES ALENIA SPACE AM developments including flight and R&D projects management. She is recognized as an AM technical leader in THALES group. THALES ALENIA SPACE already qualified tens of AM parts for satellite applications, mainly metallic, with laser powder bed technology.
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