SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches five 3D-printed AlbaPod deployers »
Five AlbaPod v2, the PocketQube deployers of Alba Orbital and additively manufactured by CRP technology were launched into orbit as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission using the Falcon 9 rocket. The deployers were produced using PBF polymer 3D printing and fiber reinforced composite material. Windform XT 2.0 carbon. The launch took place on Thursday, January 13and2022.
The deployers completed their mission: once separated from the Falcon 9 rocket, the deployers began to launch the PocketQubes into orbit. These, in turn, began to send signals to earth.
With 13 PocketQube spacecraft embedded in five 3D-printed AlbaPods v.2 deployers, the mission represented Alba Orbital’s largest cluster to date and the first PocketQubes deployment of the Falcon-9 Transporter-3. It was the third dedicated launch for SpaceX’s small satellite ride-sharing service, which aims to give microsatellites and CubeSats a more affordable ride into orbit.
The Transporter-3 mission flew southeast of Cape Canaveral, then turned south, parallel to the east coast of Florida, to deliver the 105-passenger Falcon 9 rocket satellite to a polar sun-synchronous orbit. about 326 miles high (525 kilometers).
Engineer Franco Cevolini, CEO and CTO of CRP Technology, said: “Congratulations to Alba Orbital and all the teams that have flown with them, for all their hard work. On Thursday, January 13, 2022, a new milestone was reached in the field of nanosatellites: we are very proud, as a supplier of space-proven materials and technologies. This successful mission once again demonstrates the extreme value of Windform materials for high performance, rugged and critical applications.
SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission, using the Falcon 9 rocket and the associated Alba Orbital mission “Alba Cluster 3 & 4”, consisted of the integration of the 13 PocketQubes into 5 of the 3D printed deployers in preparation for launch. It goes far beyond a one-time prototype process, into a real work production sector for CRP Technology and its US-based partner. United States CRP.
Four of the 13 PocketQubes who took part in the mission scored a “first”:
- “UNICORN-2A, 2D and 2E are Alba Orbital’s first Earth observation satellites designed to provide Earth’s highest resolution dataset at night.
- “PION-BR1 is the very first satellite developed by a Brazilian start-up.
- “GRIZU-263a is the very first Turkish pico-satellite to be launched into orbit, it was designed and built by Turkish student team Grizu-263 Uzay Takımı.
- TARTAN-ARTIBEUS-1 is the first intermittent orbital computing nanosatellite that operates without a battery aboard the SpaceX Falcon-9 Transporter-3 mission. This open source project was developed at Carnegie Mellon University
Other PocketQubes integrated into Alba’s 3D printed deployers were:
- MDQube-SAT1, an Argentinian 2p PocketQube developed by Innova Space, a “classroom transformed into a space startup”, carrying out an IoT mission.
- UNICORN-1, another PocketQube 2p built by Alba, designed in partnership with the European Space Agency – ESA.
- HADES’ & ‘EASAT, two PocketQubes 1.5p developed in Spain by AMSAT-EA and Hydra Space. They were designed for satellite communications between radio amateurs via a 145/435 MHz transponder.
- SATTLA-2A & 2B, open-source project developed by Ariel University in Israel. These PocketQubes 2p will use WiFi cards for an extremely long range link applicable to transmit video over 600 km under LOS conditions.
- DELFI-PQ, a PocketQube 3p developed in the Netherlands by TU Delft | Aerospace Engineering. This satellite is a technology demonstration mission testing a LOFAR payload and a laser retroreflector.