Stratasys And MakerBot Launch CubeSat Challenge For Aerospace Engineers And Students

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May 20, 2015 – A growing number of aerospace companies are embracing 3D printing as they transform how they prototype and manufacture. To support innovation in aerospace engineering, Stratasys, the leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, and its subsidiary MakerBot, today announced the CubeSat Challenge on GrabCAD, home to the world’s largest community of mechanical engineers.

The CubeSat Challenge invites the GrabCAD community to use 3D printing to rethink the CubeSat, a standard small research satellite built by universities, aerospace startups and independent makers around the world.

All challenge entries will be posted in the GrabCAD Challenge and a panel of prominent judges from the aerospace and 3D printing fields will select the winners. Participants have a chance to win cash prizes, as well as MakerBot® Replicator® Desktop 3D Printers and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing print services.

With the introduction of CubeSat and its standardized geometry, componentry and interfaces in 1999, the cost of building and launching a satellite plummeted.

Today, CubeSats are one of the fastest growing segments of the aerospace industry, yet traditional manufacturing methodology remains a constraint. A CubeSat structure contains between 30 and 50 parts that need to be assembled manually.

“3D printing allows aerospace engineers to think differently about building satellites and gives them a whole new toolset for packing more capability into a constrained volume. 3D printing can also simplify production as you move from the hand-built satellites of today to an automated process that will enable constellations of small satellites to be built more efficiently. We’re excited to see how the GrabCAD community can advance the CubeSat standard to provide even greater utility,” said Scott Sevcik, business development manager for aerospace & defense at Stratasys.

The CubeSat houses all the basic functionality for a research satellite in a standardized 10cmX10cmX10cm cube (known as 1U) with a maximum weight of 1.33 kg. The CubeSat is scalable by ganging multiple 1U CubeSat frames in 3U, 6U, or even 12U configurations to provide enhanced functionality in a more complex system.

To learn more or to submit an entry, please visit the GrabCAD Challenge page.