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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Printable Spacecraft: Flexible Electronic Platforms for NASA Missions

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Is it possible to print a spacecraft on a sheet of paper? This study fuses several existing technologies to enable printable spacecraft, including printable batteries, electronics, and sensors.

Atmospheric confetti. Inchworm crawlers. Blankets of ground penetrating radar. These are some of the unique mission concepts which are enabled by a printable spacecraft. Flexible printed electronics is a wide-ranging technology that can enhance or even enable many engineering applications. Our concept is to utilize the commercial technology of printed electronics to design and fabricate an entire end to end functional spacecraft. The novel advancement (and therefore the technical challenge) of the concept is to apply printed electronics in a multi-functional platform by implementing every subsystem that a spacecraft might need from the scientific sensor through the data downlink and have it survive and function in a space environment. These requirements push the current state of the art for functionality as well as introduce design and manufacturing compatibility challenges among the functional subsystems. Current industry growth and commercial investment is expected to advance the functionality of available basic building blocks and components synergistically with NASA’s needs.

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

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