The German space startup DCUBED plans to print solar panels in orbit. The launch of the first test mission is scheduled for February 2025. DCUBED announced this during the announcement of cooperation with the European Space Agency ESA.

During the demonstration, the satellite will deploy a flexible ultra-thin canvas with DCUBED ISM Solar Array solar panels. During the deployment, the back of the panel, primarily the masts, will be printed directly in orbit to support the rigid structure of the panel. The finished test ISM Solar Array, which is integrated into the satellite, should produce up to 100 W of energy.

DCUBED is going to print solar panels in space
Printing the structure of the DCUBED ISM Solar Array solar panel on Earth

If the demonstration proves successful, the next step is to print 1 kW panels in space for small satellites or space tugs in 2025, and to print more powerful 10 kW panels for large satellites and tugs in 2026.

The launch of the demonstrator satellite is scheduled for February 2025. It will be carried out by SpaceX during one of the upcoming joint Transporter missions using a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket.