These are test versions of electromagnetic coils – versatile tools for space missions – which have been 3D printed in pure copper to produce the required magnetic field shapes. These are the outputs of just one of more than 2 000 research contracts undertaken during the last three decades of ESA’s General Support Technology Program, working with European industry and academia to finalize promising technologies for spaceflight and the open market. Electromagnetic coils are variously used as part of electric motors, magnetic bearings and magnetorquers for satellite attitude control. An end-to-end process to produce these coils based on laser powder bed fusion 3D printing was developed for ESA in a project led by Zarm Technik in Germany.
Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, GSTP began in 1993 as an integral part of ESA’s long-term plan, ensuring the Agency kept ahead of technologies it might need. It has evolved into a cornerstone of ESA’s technology efforts.
GSTP is an optional ESA program, but its effectiveness is such that every ESA Member States chooses to subscribe to it. For more info, visit: European Space Agency (esa.int)