PrintSat – An Amateur Radio 3D Printer CubeSat

The image shows the building of a CubeSat with Additive Manufacturing with the WINDFORM XT. Image Credit Windform

Students at Montana Sate University (MSU) are planning to build their new amateur radio satellite PrintSat with nano-carbon-impregnated plastic using a 3D printer.

David Klumpar KD7MFJ of MSU said 3D printing “will further lower the costs and speed the development of very small satellites, enabling future scientific missions comprised of dozens of satellites flying in formation.”

Jim White WD0E, president of Colorado Satellite Services, explained that “Additive manufacturing (also called 3-D printing) has evolved in the past few years to be a very inexpensive and fast way to make mechanical parts. With PrintSat, the entire structure of the small satellite will be printed. As the first use of additive manufacturing for a satellite, we plan to show it’s not only cheaper and faster, but that we can make parts that cannot be made in traditional ways.”

When in orbit PrintSat will measure and report on the characteristics of the Windform XT2.0 printed material and plating during its mission life in order to verify the utility of additive manufacturing for spacecraft structures and mechanisms.

PrintSat plans to use the same frequencies as RAMPART and use GMSK 9k6 Ax.25 packet radio. It is aiming for a May 2103 launch from the Wallops Flight Facility into a 500km 40 degree inclination orbit.

Other satellites planning to fly on the same launch include Blacknight-1, Spa-1 Trailblazer, Phonesat, Kysat- II, Rampart, NPS-SCAT, Copper, TJSat, Tethersat, Lunar orbiter/lander CubeSat, Swampsat, Cape-2, Dragonsat-1 and Ethersat.

Montana State University Space Science and Engineering Laboratory

Windform XT2.0

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Status Pages

Student HRBE Amateur Radio CubeSat in SatMagazine

SatMagazine April 2012

SatMagazine April 2012

The student built Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer (HRBE) amateur radio CubeSat formerly known as Explorer-1 [PRIME] is featured on page 10 of the April issue of SatMagazine.

In the article SatMagazine says:

The Montana State University (MSU) satellite that rode into space on a NASA rocket has now gathered information longer than the historic U.S. satellite it was built to honor, said the director of MSU’s Space Science and Engineering Laboratory (SSEL).

Almost four months after the October 28 launch, and shortly after learning that NASA had selected another MSU satellite for possible launch on a NASA rocket next year, SSEL Director David Klumpar [KD7MFJ] cheered as he suddenly realized that Montana’s only satellite had collected data for 111 days as of February 15. Since then, the satellite has well surpassed the entire 111-day mission of its history-making predecessor, Explorer-1, the first successful U.S. satellite.

On the HRBE site the team say “A special thanks goes to all of the HAM operators that have been listening into beacons and sending us the data. Data Submissions from HAM Operators have comprised of almost half of the data we have collected so far and has become a vital part in monitoring the health and systems of HRBE.”

Download the April issue of SatMagazine from


HRBE (Explorer-1 [PRIME] )

How to receive the 437.505 MHz LSB Amateur Radio Cubesat E-1P / HRBE