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Chinese satellite deploys pioneering 3D-printed storage tank

BEIJING, April 9 — The cold propulsion system on Tiandu-2, a communication and navigation technology test satellite, is working well, marking the first in-orbit application of a 3D-printed storage tank in China, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The cold propulsion system recently provided high-precision orbital attitude control for the satellite during lunar orbit, marking the first successful application of the liquid ammonia cold air micro-propulsion system in the field of deep-space exploration.

The storage tank is an important component of satellite propulsion systems. As a pressure component, it requires not only high precision of forming and no leakage, but also good anti-fatigue performance, allowing for repeated fuel filling and discharge.

The development team from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation has mastered a number of key technologies to connect the components inside the storage box through 3D printing, which has greatly shortened the development cycle and effectively reduced the cost.

On March 20, China launched the new relay satellite Queqiao-2 and two communication and navigation technology test satellites Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2.

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