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Collaboration supplies NASA with AM components for Cygnus programme

Nasa launch

The AlSi7Mg components are intended for NASA’s Cygnus ISS resupply programme (Image: NASA)

Additive manufacturing service provider BeamIT has announced a partnership with Telema, Blu Electronic and Thales Alenia Space through which it is developing and supplying NASA with a number of AlSi7Mg aluminium components.

The components will be used in NASA’s ongoing Cygnus programme, which resupplies the International Space Station (ISS) via a spacecraft manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

The Cygnus programme supports investigative research on the ISS, such as testing gene therapy, measuring atmospheric density, and testing flammability at different oxygen levels.

The AlSi7Mg components are developed using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), a process that involves selectively fusing powdered materials using thermal energy generated by a laser beam.

LPBF enables the creation of lightweight components with impressive tensile strength and temperature resistance, helping to ensure that the AlSi7Mg components exceed the minimum requirements set by NASA, particularly in regard to fatigue data, as reported by Metal AM.

Enabling more advanced spacecraft

In partnership with Telema, Blu Electronic, and Thales Alenia Space, the BeamIT AlSi7Mg components will enable the development of more robust, lightweight, and technologically advanced spacecraft.

The 3D printed components are all rigorously tested and NASA-qualified, ensuring enhanced reliability and longevity in the harsh environment of space exploration.

Mauro Antolotti, President of BeamIT, said: “Our collaboration with Telema, Blu Electronic, and Thales Alenia Space represents a milestone in the aerospace industry. BeamIT’s expertise in additive manufacturing, combined with the contributions of our esteemed partners and our NADCAP-qualified components, will elevate the Cygnus programme to new heights of innovation and efficiency.”

The partnership between BeamIT, Telema, Blu Electronic, and Thales Alenia Space underlines the significant progress being made in metal additive manufacturing technology and quality assurance.

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