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Additive manufactured Reaction Wheel Bracket for telecomunication satellites Show image information
Series production of Edge Inserts for Telecomunication Satelites Show image information

Additive manufactured Reaction Wheel Bracket for telecomunication satellites

Series production of Edge Inserts for Telecomunication Satelites

NewStructure – Direct Manufacturing of Structure Elements for Next Generation Platform

In the project NewStructure the impact of AM-technologies on actual aerospace parts will be investigated, using the example of actual telecommunication satellites. The gains, when trading off conventionally fabricated parts by additively manufactured metallic parts, will be examined and quantified. Different types of applications will be investigated:

  • Case A parts: Identical elements applicable to each platform
  • Case B parts: More complex parts featuring a high buy-to-fly ratio

The requirements are to reduce the materials costs, the components’ weight and/or the manufacturing time in comparison to the traditional fabrication method. As the manufacturing strategy of AM is fundamentally different from that of conventional techniques (e.g. turning or milling) a complete redevelopment of the fabrication process and of the part design will be conducted. Thus, an iterative approach will be applied in order to systematically reveal optimization possibilities.


  • Weight reduction: Use of materials of high specific strength, optimization of part design to obtain load-adapted structures
  • Waste reduction: Reduction of chip removal volume and buy-to-fly ratio
  • Cost reduction: AM specific redesign Zeitreduktion: Verarbeitung von mehreren Teilen gleichzeitig, Endkonturnahe Fertigung
The four main goals of NewStructure: weight, waste, cost and time reduction

Research Approach

The first task is to develop a trade-off methodology, which will be applied during all following activities. On basis of this trade-off methodology, actual structure elements will be identified and ranked according to the cases A and B. Typical relevant parts will be those with a high buy-to-fly ratio and time-consuming or complex fabrication steps. Considering these aspects, additively manufactured parts are supposed to result in remarkable gains through the intrinsic capability of near-net-shape fabrication.

Subsequently, design proposals and manufacturing strategies will be developed. Thereby, the component requirements, which serve as constraints for the design, will be collected and described. In order to find a proper design and manufacturing strategy the characteristics of the AM-process will be taken into account. Restrictions with regard to the product design might result from the limited building angle or from the need of support structures. Apart from the design, the material choice will be considered, as it plays a key role regarding the resulting component dimensions. Therefore the importance of material costs vs. transportation costs (weight) will be contemplated and evaluated.

On basis of the defined design and manufacturing strategy, a number of parts will be processed and analyzed regarding the obtained accuracy and reproducibility. Furthermore, tests under mechanical load will give detailed knowledge of the part performance. Afterwards, the material properties as well as the mechanical behavior and the accuracy of the parts will be examined in order to verify their reliability. Dependent on the exact loading conditions and part geometry the tests will be conducted.

Finally, cost analyses will be conducted in order to quantify the gains resulting from lower weight and/or buy-to-fly ratio as well as from eventually shorter manufacturing time in comparison to the conventionally fabricated parts.

Further project information
Project statusIn progress
Project duration 26 month
Funding European Space Agency (ESA) – Artes 5 (100 %)
Project manager Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Koch
Project coordinatorBenoit Bonvoisin (ESA)
Scientific staff Thomas Reiher, M.Sc.
Involved chairs Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung (C.I.K.)

Prof. Dr. Rainer Koch

Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung

Rainer Koch
+49 5251 60-2258
+49 5251 60-3482

M. Sc. Thomas Reiher


Part design optimization

Thomas Reiher
+49 5251 60-2263

The University for the Information Society