03 July 2018
A team of five students from Singapore recently participated in an innovation competition, ActInSpace, held in France.
Their project used 3D printing to produce customised micro-thrusters that can keep small satellites up in space for a longer duration of time.
Satellites tend to slowly re-enter the atmosphere and burn up over time. Nano satellites in particular only have a short lifespan, lasting between three months to about two years.
The Singapore team said that their micro-thrusters using water propulsion can be installed on CubeSats, a particular type of nano satellite which measures 10 centimetres wide and weighs around 1.3 kilograms, and which are used for a wide range of functions such as conducting experiments in space.
The team’s micro-thrusters can keep the CubeSats in space for a longer period, for one-quarter of the cost of using conventional thrusters.