comscore Spacewalking cosmonauts release 3-D-printed satellite | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Spacewalking cosmonauts release 3-D-printed satellite

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky holds a mini satellite before launching it by hand from the International Space Station.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. >> Spacewalking cosmonauts set free the world’s first satellite made almost entirely with a 3-D printer today.

In total, Russians Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy ended up releasing five nanosatellites by hand. One by one, the tiny craft — no more than 1 to 2 feet in size — tumbled safely away from the International Space Station.

The exterior casing of the first one tossed overboard was made with a 3-D printer. So were the battery packs inside. Researchers want to see how 3-D-made parts weather the space environment.

The 3-D satellite contains regular electronics. It also holds greetings to planet Earth in a variety of languages, courtesy of students at Siberia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University, where the satellite was made.

The other satellites deployed Thursday have traditional spacecraft parts.

Each weighs just 10 to 24 pounds. They’re expected to orbit for five to six months.

One commemorates the 60th anniversary of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik 1, launched Oct. 4, 1957, by the Soviet Union. Another pays tribute to Russia’s father of rocketry, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. He was born 160 years ago next month.

The remaining two small satellites involve navigation and other experiments.

Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy completed the satellite releases within an hour of venturing outside. Barely a minute passed between a few of the launches. The rest of the chores took longer than expected, however, and Russia’s Mission Control outside Moscow sent the planned six-hour spacewalk into overtime.

“We will have actually some grounds to get drunk today, I think,” one of the cosmonauts joked in Russian. A flight controller replied that he’d do it for them.

The cosmonauts also collected science experiments from outside their 250-mile-high home. Three Americans and one Italian also live on the space station.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up