Los Angeles —The figure in the picture is no dwarf. It's a technician at Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS), formerly Hughes Space and Communications Co. BSS is building the 12.25-m (40-ft) reflector designed for geostationary satellites used in regional mobile communications. Known as the Boeing GEM spacecraft, it transmits and receives signals from an L-band feed array, which forms a large number of small spot beams whose position can be adjusted as phone traffic warrants. Composite materials provide a 78-kg (170-lb) reflector that compresses into a 1.3-m (50-inch) diameter 3.8-m (150-inch) long package for launch. The first GEM spacecraft is the Thuraya-1 satellite, which will be part of a mobile satellite system including the Arab world, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and eastern Europe including Turkey.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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