Russian cosmonauts release 3D-printed satellite into space during spacewalk


A team of two Russian cosmonauts have released five nanosatellites into space during a spacewalk, which lasted more than six hours outside the International Space Station (ISS).

The satellites measure between 1ft and 2ft in size, and were deployed by Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy, reported Associated Press (AP).

One of the crafts’ exterior casing is made using 3D printing technology.

The satellite is expected to help the researchers better understand the effect of the low-Earth orbit environment on 3D-printed materials.

Manufactured at Tomsk Polytechnic University in Siberia, the 3D-printed probe features regular electronics.

"The satellite is expected to help the researchers better understand the effect of the low-Earth orbit environment on 3D-printed materials."

One of the satellites contains recorded greetings in 11 languages, while another commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch and the 160th birth anniversary of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

According to AP, the remaining two satellites feature navigation and other experiments.

Deployment of all the satellites, weighing 10lb to 24lb each, was completed within an hour of the spacewalk.

The probes are expected to remain in orbit for five to six months.

During the spacewalk, the cosmonauts also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.

They also installed handrails and struts to facilitate future excursions.


Image: Fyodor Yurchikhin holds one of the five satellites deployed during the spacewalk on 17 August. Photo: courtesy of Nasa.