3Ders reports on an electric satellite orbit record shattered by EUTELSAT 172B, a partially 3D printed telecommunications satellite. This satellite, built by Airbus and the European Space Agency for French satellite operator Eutalsat “has reached geostationary orbit, breaking the record for the fastest satellite electric orbit raising.”
This Eutalsat satellite was launched from Kourou in France back in June of 2017. Beyond its record, this satellite is unique in other ways as well – it boasts “robotic arms and 3D printing techniques” used in its construction.
In fact, Eutelsat’s Chief Technical Officer, Yohann Leroy, explained how additive manufacturing technologies helped to create this technical marvel: “EUTELSAT 172B confirms the relevance of Eutelsat’s early adoption of electric propulsion technology to optimize [capital expenditure.] In combining electric propulsion, high-throughput capacity, robotic arms, and 3D printing techniques, our new satellite also reflects Europe’s capability to push the envelope of innovation in order to increase the competitiveness of our business.”
Indeed, Eutelsat “is the first company to demonstrate full electric propulsion for satellites this size and capacity, enabling their launch in the most cost-efficient manner.”
The EUTELSAT 172B, which will have a lifespan of 15 years, “is scheduled to enter commercial service in November [of 2017], and its main beneficiaries will be those in the Asia-Pacific region, whose telecommunications, in-flight broadband, and broadcast services could be improved.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders