DCUBED’s Cosmic Journey to 3D Print in Open Space is the daring subject of the AM article.

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DCUBED, a Munich-based company, is set to revolutionize space exploration with its groundbreaking in-space manufacturing capabilities. Expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024, this mission will mark a significant shift in how space structures are constructed and repaired.

DCUBED has already made a name for itself by supplying actuators and deployable structures for space applications to 15 countries across four continents. Now, the company is partnering with Italian company D-Orbit to conduct an in-space manufacturing demonstration aboard a SpaceX rocket.

The experiment will involve using a miniature 3D printer to create a rod-shaped structure using synthetic resin mixed with fibers. This process is estimated to take around four hours and will consume minimal energy. The objective of the experiment is to showcase the effectiveness of in-space manufacturing and highlight its potential to transform production in orbit.

The inspiration for DCUBED’s innovative approach to space engineering came from founder Thomas Sinn’s moment of frustration while working for the German company High Performance Space Structure Systems. Sinn was involved in Rocket Lab’s “It’s Business Time” mission, which aimed to launch various payloads into orbit, including a drag sail designed to catch wind resistance and aid in cleaning up space debris.

During this mission, Sinn faced the challenge of finding a suitable release device for the deployable structure. Fueled by frustration, Sinn and his team used an Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer to develop their release device, which performed flawlessly. This success prompted Sinn to establish DCUBED, with the goal of making space engineering more accessible and efficient.

Since its inception, DCUBED has achieved significant milestones. It started at the European Space Agency (ESA) Business Incubation Center (BIC) and won the INNOspace Masters competition. The company also secured an EXIST Business Startup Grant, allowing Sinn and his team to focus full-time on DCUBED. By December 2019, they had already shipped their first actuators to prestigious institutions like the MIT Haystack Observatory and the University of Auckland.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, DCUBED persevered and secured seed funding, enabling them to develop and scale their product lines. The startup won its first ESA development contract in 2021 and expanded its portfolio to include SmallSat solar arrays in 2022.

Earlier this year, DCUBED achieved a significant milestone by securing its first constellation customer. The company aims to become the leading provider of easy-to-use space hardware by offering commercial, off-the-shelf solutions that are smaller, faster, and more affordable. Their ultimate goal is to make space missions accessible to anyone with a dream of exploring the cosmos.

To further its mission, DCUBED plans to establish an office in Broomfield, Colorado, to tap into the local space market. The company is also focusing on developing products that unfold once in space, simplifying the deployment of satellites and other space structures.

With its ambitious goals and innovative approach, DCUBED is poised to transform the future of space exploration and pave the way for new possibilities in in-space manufacturing and construction.

In a small, cozy office nestled in the heart of Colorado Springs, a team of brilliant minds is working tirelessly on a groundbreaking technology that could change the way we explore and inhabit space. Meet DCUBED, a company with a vision to revolutionize in-space manufacturing capabilities for larger space structures.

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods where components are folded and packed into rockets, DCUBED has a different approach. Their technology aims to 3D print components for satellites, space stations, and potentially even future settlements on the Moon and Mars directly in open space. This out-of-this-world concept promises innovation like never before.

And that innovation is about to reach a critical milestone. DCUBED is gearing up for an imminent demonstration, where they will showcase their capabilities in creating in-space manufacturing technologies for SmallSat applications. This demonstration is just the beginning of a series of exciting plans for the company.

In the coming years, DCUBED plans to take their capabilities even further. They have set their sights on conducting an in-orbit experiment of truss-structure manufacturing in 2025, followed by a mission demonstration in 2026 for multiple kilowatt (KW) SmallSat solar arrays. These ambitious plans highlight their commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in space technology.

Why is DCUBED so passionate about this? According to Thomas Sinn, a key figure at DCUBED, payload limitations and costs are real barriers that hinder the use of space for the benefit of mankind. He emphasizes the urgent need for large structures in orbit to support various services such as internet from space, Internet of Things (IoT), and Earth observation. By enabling the manufacturing of space hardware in free space, DCUBED aims to transform the way we approach space fabrication and repair, opening doors to unimaginable possibilities.

To further fuel their mission, DCUBED is actively seeking talented individuals to join their team. They are currently hiring for key roles, including sales positions, a chief financial officer (CFO), and a production manager. This expansion reflects their dedication to advancing their work and propelling their vision into the future.

With 15 products already in orbit and plans for cutting-edge experiments and projects in the pipeline, DCUBED could be at the forefront of setting new standards for 3D printing in the private space industry. Their passion for innovation and their commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible are what truly make them a disruptive force in the field.

As we eagerly await further updates on DCUBED’s journey, we can’t help but wonder what the future holds for in-space manufacturing and exploration. This company’s groundbreaking technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about space, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve next. Stay tuned for more exciting news and updates from the world of 3D printing, and keep an eye on DCUBED as they continue to soar to new heights.

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