The 3D manufactured part — a black bracket holding the instrument’s fiber-optic cables — is visible in the back of the ATLAS instrument. (NASA)
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry an electrostatically dissipative Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), or “strand-based,” 3D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in 3D manufacturing, let alone flown in space.

The electrostatically dissipative PEKK bracket is believed to be the only strand-based 3D manufactured part to be flown in a spaceflight instrument. PEKK was chosen because it’s strong, but perhaps more important, it’s electrostatically dissipative. It also produces very little outgassing.