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The Exploration Company to 3D print spacecraft components using TRUMPF technology

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The Exploration Company to 3D print spacecraft components for Nyx spacecrafts
The Exploration Company to 3D print spacecraft components for Nyx spacecrafts/Source: The Exploration Company

TRUMPF, a German technology company, and the European space-travel Startup The Exploration Company is working together to 3D print spacecraft components for missions in Earth’s orbit and to the Moon.

Beginning in spring 2024, the Exploration Company will collaborate with TRMPF to print core components of the Huracán and Mistral engines for the Nyx Earth and Nyx Moon spacecraft in Planegg, near Munich, using 3D printers. The goal is to make the Huracán engine reusable and refuelable in space using biomethane and oxygen.

The Journey so-far

In its first mission in 2026, the start-up intends to send a space capsule into orbit around the Earth for several months. Additional missions to the moon are planned to launch beginning in 2028. The spacecraft will initially transport cargo, but people will eventually fly on board.

“Our aim is to offer space missions more cost-effectively than was previously possible. Our spacecraft can benefit from TRUMPF’s manufacturing and application expertise. TRUMPF has decades of experience in the production of high-precision components.”

– Hélène Huby, CEO of The Exploration Company

The Exploration Company has already raised 65 million euros from private and public investors. The European company employs approximately 120 people at its sites in Planegg near Munich and Bordeaux. Commercial space travel is considered a growing industry. Experts predict that the global aircraft and spacecraft production market will reach 740 billion euros by 2023.

The Exploration Company to 3D print spacecraft components

“With our 3D printing technology, we are driving the commercialization of the space-travel industry. If you want to be successful in the space-travel industry today, you have to use additive manufacturing.”

– Tobias Brune, responsible for the additive manufacturing business at TRUMPF

Designers use additive manufacturing to combine multiple assemblies into a single component. This saves weight and reduces complexity. Every gramme saved lowers fuel costs. Furthermore, the less complex components lower the cost of safety tests prior to rocket launch, increasing the likelihood of a successful mission in space.

The Exploration Company uses 3D printers to save valuable raw materials. The systems only use materials that will eventually fly into space. Historically, aerospace companies produced components using traditional manufacturing methods such as stamping, forging, and casting. Much of the material went to waste.

Additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototype development, which is normally a lengthy process in the aerospace industry. Users of the design software can improve the prototype with the click of a mouse. The 3D printer can then create the new prototype in a matter of hours. Some of these complex geometries would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods, and others would take weeks or months.


About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Global News page for more updates on Global 3D Printing News. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Follow us on Google News.

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About author
Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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