What are satellites made of?

What are satellites made of General Knowledge

Satellites allow us to communicate with each other and carry out scientific research. First satellites were made of an aluminum-magnesium alloy. Later, they started to make them from titanium.

Carbon fiber composite materials made of carbon fibers and resins will replace metals in the 21st Century.  replace the aluminum alloy-based manned compartment.

Why CFRP? It is 30-35% lighter than aluminum alloys. You would need about 50 thousand dollars to put 1 kilogram in orbit. Interplanetary flight is becoming more expensive. CFRP satellites have higher durability, strength, and reliability which results in lower manufacturing costs.

What are satellites made of

The manned portion, which is where the people are, however, is made of metal. Why aren’t manned compartments made from composite materials? Carbon fiber was not available when the first compartments were created. To replace the material, you must conduct a series of experiments. They are carried out by scientists, and we simply have to wait for their results.

Space debris is one of our biggest problems. Satellites are subject to severe damage from debris and rocket stages. They cannot withstand collisions with parts flying at high speed towards them, even if they are made of carbon fibre. Most importantly, humans have not yet developed a system to protect vehicles and clean up space debris.

Modern technology makes it possible to create parts for satellites using additive technologies. It is very inefficient to print a satellite using a 3D printer. We will spend too much time and money printing a frame, when we can just cut it from solid material.

Different methods of laying carbon fibre depend on the way the material will be exposed. If the carbon fiber is not laid correctly, there may be voids. Space sector devices can be sealed if they are properly laid. This is not critical in aviation. The acceptable level of porosity for composite materials in aviation is usually less than 3%. Weather conditions can be extreme for planes. They can fly in rain, snow and thunderstorms. The material can be damaged by water because the pores are constantly filled with water. The composite matrix can swing, which could lead to the destruction or the loss of an aircraft.

Aluminum alloys have given us everything, so we are seeing more of them replacing titanium. Although titanium alloys are stronger than aluminum alloys, their density is one-and-a-half times that of aluminum. Aluminum alloys can be produced at 60 million tons. Titanium, however, is only 250 000 tons.

If we look at the trends in aerospace, aluminum will soon be replaced by titanium in areas that cannot be abandoned. On the other hand, carbon fiber reinforced plastics will replace aluminum in many production areas.

Alexander Stephenson

Candidate of Chemical Sciences, editor-in-chief of Guide-scientific.com. Lecturer at several international online schools, member of the jury of chemistry competitions and author of scientific articles.

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