Alba Orbital Ltd & CRP Technology successfully complete the launch of 3D printed PocketQube deployers from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket

Two years ago, 3D printing materials and services provider CRP Technology explained the role of 3D printing in what was described as “the largest PocketQube launch to date” – this launch was handled by Alba Orbital Ltda British company that builds PocketQube satellites.

The Alba Orbital Cluster 3 at the heart of this project, was supposed to be manifested on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and was scheduled for a December 2020 launch date with a target SSO (Polar) Orbit. While no confirmation has been made regarding this launch, we do know that another launch into orbit was performed on Thursday 13th January 2022, as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission using Falcon 9 rocket. This time, five AlbaPod v2, the PocketQube deployers by Alba Orbital manufactured by CRP Technology using professional 3D printing and Carbon fiber reinforced composite material Windform XT 2.0 were launched.

CRP Technology confirms that the deployers successfully completed their mission: once had separated from Falcon 9, the deployers started launching into the orbit the PocketQubes, that in turn began to send signals to the earth.

This mission was a key milestone for Alba Orbital. Indeed, the 13 PocketQube spacecrafts integrated into five 3D printed AlbaPods v.2 deployers, refer to the company’s biggest cluster to date, and the first PocketQubes deployment from Falcon-9 Transporter-3.  It has been the third dedicated launch for SpaceX’s small satellite rideshare service, which aims to give microsatellites and CubeSats a more affordable ride into orbit, a press release notes.

Engineer Franco Cevolini, CEO and CTO at CRP Technology, states, “Congrats to Alba Orbital and to all the teams flown with them, for all their hard work. On Thursday 13th January 2022 it has been signed a new milestone in the nanosatellites arena: we are very proud of being part as supplier of materials and technology that are integration and space-proven! The successful mission demonstrates once again the extreme value of Windform for highly performance, heavy duty and mission-critical applications.  SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission using Falcon 9 rocket and the related Alba Orbital’s “Alba Cluster 3 & 4” mission – that consisted in the integration of the 13 PocketQubes into 5 of the 3D printed deployers as preparation for the launch – represents not just a one-time prototype process, but an actual sector of work for both CRP Technology and the US-based partner CRP USA. CRP USA inaugurated this new era manufacturing the innovative TuPOD system launched by ISS years ago.”

The Transporter -3 mission flew southeast from Cape Canaveral, then turned south to track parallel to Florida’s east coast to deliver the Falcon 9 rocket’s 105 satellite passengers into a roughly 326-mile-high (525-kilometer) polar sun-synchronous orbit.



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