Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, released into the atmosphere the first satellite made almost entirely with the help of a 3-D printer during a space walk. The satellite released was one of five nano-satellites released by the cosmonauts. All five nano-satellites were released from the International Space Station (ISS) and are between one and two feet in length and weighed between 10 to 24 pounds. The outer casing and the battery pack of the first nano-satellite released by the Russian cosmonauts were made using a 3-D printer. The satellite contains regular electronic parts and was made by students at Siberia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University, according to news wire service AP.
Researchers wanted to see how the 3-D made parts of the satellites perform in space. The satellite also contains messages and greetings written by the students of the Institute, one of the messages written on the satellite commemorated 60 years of the launch of Sputnik-1 which was sent to space on October 4, 1957. Sputnik-1 was the first satellite to be sent into space. While another message pays tribute to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who is considered the father of Russia’s rocketry, according to the report.
The cosmonauts released the satellites during a space walk outside the ISS which was at that time orbiting Earth at an altitude of 250 miles (400 kilometers). Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy were outside the space station for a total of seven hours and 34 minutes.