RUAG Space, Zurich, Switzerland, has developed what will be the first additively manufactured part to land on the moon; an aluminium engine mount. The mount will be fitted on the main engine of the ‘Beresheet’ lunar lander, developed by non-profit organisation SpaceIL, Israel.
“Our 3D part will support landing and lift off of the spacecraft on the moon,” explained Peter Guggenbach, RUAG Space CEO. Since 2014, the company has developed a number of space components by AM. For the production of this part, it contracted Morf3D, El Segundo, California, USA, a provider of Additive Manufacturing solutions with a focus on the aerospace industry.
“With 3D printing, our customers profit from a quicker and more cost-efficient production,” stated Guggenbach, adding that “weight reduction is a decisive factor in the space industry. The lighter the satellite, the lower the costs. Every kilogram less saves money, since less energy is needed for sending the satellite into orbit.”
SpaceIL’s mission will represent the first non-governmental landing on the moon. Its total budget is estimated at US$95 million, provided mainly by philanthropists and the Israel Space Agency (ISA). Beresheet’s launch is scheduled for February 18, 2019.
After an initial two-month journey in space, Beresheet will land on the lunar surface and begin sending photos and videos back to Earth, as well as data about the moon’s magnetic field. The lander also incorporates a digital ‘time capsule’ comprising three disks of cultural documents such as Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Hebrew songs, prayer, books of art, science and literature, and paintings by Israeli children.