RockSat-X 2015

3D Printing in Microgravity

The team designed and built a 3D printer with commercial off-the-shelf products and custom manufactured components. Given the strict payload size and weight requirements, no current commercially available 3D printers would have been within the constraints of the mission. Furthermore, the 3D printer had to be structurally and electrically robust enough to survive the launch, reentry and splashdown environments. After recovery of the experiment, the team was able to confirm that their mission was successful in that their custom 3D printer manufactured the Virginia Tech logo in micro-gravity, 150km above the earth.

Payload Pictures

Mission Specifications

Payload and Mission Specifications
Spec. Value Unit
Weight 30.40 Pounds
Height 10.75 Inches
Radius 10.625 Inches
Power 91.0 Watts
Current 2.42 Amps
Voltage +28.0 Volts
Flight Cost 24000.00 U.S. Dollars
Printer Cost 2932.44 U.S. Dollars

Flight Data


Image of one of the VT logos that the printer manufactured prior to launch


Image of the VT logo that the printer manufactured in space while in microgravity