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.

Make space travel regular, reliable, and affordable

Some want to go to the 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 & optimization built exclusively for space applications. 

Download our playbook "Building the Business Case: Identifying Criteria to Measure ROI for Additive Manufacturing," where we outline 4 steps to create a comprehensive business case and move to production – faster.

Case Study

Optisys creates a superior antenna with metal additive
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 1 part with additive
• Lead-time reduction: 11 months to 2 months

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 light weight metal materials such as titanium. 

Increase cost competitiveness

The entrance of new players has driven the focus towards competitiveness in cost. Additive provides opportunities to reduce cost since the need for expensive tooling is removed. Other benefits include the possibility to make late changes in the design and reduced unit cost, both beneficial for industries like space which utilize complex products in low volume.

Our machine solutions

Our experts will help you find the right machine type for your space application.

Industry benefits


LOWER COSTS AND SIMPLIFIED SUPPLY CHAINS
AM allows you to consolidate parts, which can reduce your supply sources and logistical costs. It also allows for small batch series or single item production, which is a relevant issue in satellite manufacturing and the space industry in general.

IMPROVED HARDWARE PERFORMANCE
It has been shown that additive components and systems can outperform their traditional predecessors due to material and geometry flexibility. The ability to manufacture internal cooling channels that are not feasible with traditional methods also adds to improved performance and new functionality.

REDUCED TIME FROM DEVELOPMENT TO LAUNCH
High flexibility can significantly reduce development, testing, and manufacturing lead times

FASTER CYCLE TIME
Tooling elimination and manufacturing simplification can reduce cycle time up to 10X. Furthermore, traditional manufacturing methods that are often characterized by long lead-times are substantially decreased.

FLEXIBLE LOGISTICS 
Additive allows distributed manufacturing and on-demand product solutions.

Powders

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 powder, process settings and support for these materials ideal for the space industry:

  • Nickel alloys
  • Titanium
  • Aluminums
  • Cobalt Chrome
  • Stainless Steels
  • Maraging Steel

GE Additive's AddWorks

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 our 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.