Metal additive, going above and beyond

The space industry is often characterized by complex parts in low volumes, making it an ideal industry to use metal additive. Now, the ready are evaluating how additive can yield benefits like increased part performance, reduced lead-times and reduced costs for space applications.

for the ready

Some want to go to Mars. Some want to stay at the forefront of the communications sector. Some want to be a leader in smallsat manufacturing. And others are interested in Earth observation or interplanetary travel.

Whatever your goal may be, additive plays a key role in enabling the continued success of human space travel. It is already enabling the production of low-cost satellites and lighter, more-efficient rockets to launch cargos into orbit.

To stay at the forefront of space exploration, you must radically change the way you design and build satellites, rockets, launch vehicles and more. Additive is the game-changing technology you need to reduce weight through 3D designs, digital analysis and optimization built exclusively for space applications. 

Download our playbook Building the Business Case: Identifying Criteria to Measure ROI for Additive Manufacturing, in which we outline four steps to creating a comprehensive business case and moving to production – faster.

Case study

Traditional antenna manufacturing consists of complex systems that are large and heavy, which can lead to higher launch costs and inconsistent radio frequency (RF) performance at higher frequency bands. Optisys set out to capture new revenue streams by creating a superior antenna that operates up to a 90-GHz frequency band. They broke even on the machine acquisition just one year after purchasing and saw a 75% reduction in non-recurring costs. 

Performance factors:
• 95% weight reduction
• 80% size reduction

Supply chain disruption:
100 parts with subtractive manufacturing to one part with additive
• Lead-time reduction: 11 months to two months

Optisys Antenna

Increase payload, launch value

Lower launcher weight will ultimately allow for increased payload weight and increased value for each launch. Weight reduction can be achieved through part consolidation, the use of net-shape, weight-optimized designs, and the use of lightweight metal materials such as titanium. 

Increase cost competitiveness

Additive provides opportunities to reduce cost because the need for expensive tooling is eliminated. Other benefits include the possibility to make late changes in the design and reduce unit cost, both beneficial for industries like space that utilize complex products in low volume.

AddWorks™ engineering support

Wherever you’re at on your path to full metal additive production, our team is ready to help you bring new innovation to market faster.

What are AddWorks Workshops? 
Learn foundational knowledge and additive strategies in a classroom environment. Workshops typically run three to five days.

What are the Application Sprints? 
Get comprehensive support anywhere on your path to production with workshops and training, and/or hands-on consulting with GE’s AddWorks experts.

AddWorks Design Support


We’ve carefully developed our powders to seamlessly fit into the entire GE Additive ecosystem and provide total compatibility with our machines. We provide metal powders, process settings and support for these materials ideal for the space industry:

  • Stainless Steels
  • Maraging Steel 
  • Aluminums
  • Nickel Alloys
  • Titanium 
  • Cobalt Chrome
Close up of AP&C Powders

Launch your additive manufacturing program
with help from GE Additive.

GE Image
Tomas Kellner
19 September 2019