Canadian additive manufacturing company Burloak Technologies is teaming up with MDA, a company specializing in space robotics, satellite payloads, antennas and more, to accelerate commercial space applications for additive manufacturing processes.
The companies are embarking on a two-year project awarded by the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Technology Development Program (STDP). The project in question is entitled “Large Scale Additive Manufactured RF Satellite Communication Sub-Systems.”
The aim of the joint project is to leverage additive manufacturing technologies to develop increasingly complex components for the sub-system level. The companies will provide expertise in their respective fields to achieve this. Burloak, which was acquired by Canadian industrial manufacturing company Samuel, Son & Co., will utilize its flight-certified material processes for aluminum and titanium, as well as its Invar and Copper processes, to drive the project ahead.
Within the context of the commercial space industry, additive manufacturing has big potential and is being increasingly explored for the production of complex, highly sophisticated and lightweight systems. The latter quality is arguably the most important, as lightweight parts play a critical role in lowering the cost of space launches.
Though we don’t often hear about the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)—at least not at the same frequency as we hear about NASA or ESA—the two-year project led by Burloak Technologies and MDA showcases Canada’s growing interest in leveraging new technologies such as 3D printing to further its space exploration agenda.
3D printing is taking on an important role in the rejuvenation of space exploration around the world. Companies such as Relativity, Space X and Virgin Orbit (to name a few) are developing new and more cost-efficient launch vehicles and rockets thanks to metal additive manufacturing. 3D printing is also playing a role in space and specifically aboard the International Space Station (ISS).