Sep 28, 2015 | By Alec

Over the past year or so, we’ve seen that the Chinese government is very enthusiastically adopting high quality 3D printing in a variety of its branches. In January, we saw how their warships are taking 3D printers out on missions to manufacture replacement parts and just a few weeks ago the army branch has started doing the same. However China is also ambitious in regards to aerospace, so it is hardly surprising that they have relied on the same high quality metal 3D printing principles during the development of a recent satellite. Called the Pujiang-1, it is the Chinese first satellite to feature 3D printed parts and has just been successfully launched.

The Pujiang-1 was one of four satellites that were carried into space on 25 September by the solid-fuel Long March-11 rocket. Lift-off took place at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu (Northwestern China), at 9:41 AM (local time).

While NASA has also been experimenting with 3D printed satellite parts in recent years, the Pujiang-1 is a particularly interesting creation. Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, its designers chose to reduce costs and manufacturing time by creating the satellite’s titanium antenna holder with 3D printing. These parts were completed over a period of three days, while they usually take up to four months to create. And despite this short production time, the performance of the parts are said to be completely similar to those of traditionally manufactured parts.

But aside from an excellent money-saving innovation, the Pujiang-1 is also part of Beijing’s ambitious ‘internet plus’ strategy. With an eye on the country’s economy, this plan aims to transform Chinese businesses by making high-speed internet widely available. Through Wi-Fi technology principles, the satellite is intended to conveniently collect and send data on things like the weather, traffic and population growth to the people – perfect data for supporting marketing strategies and even for resource surveys, emergency response and rescue, and much more.

The problem with those kinds of satellite programs in China is that they usually take exceptionally long to develop – establishing a dedicated program, creating and testing the models and prototypes quickly takes years. However, 3D printing technology is perfect for not only drastically reducing the costs involved, but also for greatly speeding up the program itself. If successful, the same principles will likely be applied to further satellite programs in China.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive