Flexible Printed Electronics

ALTER Technology is participating in an ESA project called "Printed Structural Electronics" (SIPRES), which aims to develop and validate flexible printed electronics for use in space missions. This innovative technology will enable the integration of printed circuit boards and electronic assemblies into structures and mechanisms used in space, which has great potential to reduce the weight of space devices and make missions more efficient and sustainable.


The ability to integrate printed circuit boards and electronic assemblies directly into mechanisms and structures thanks to printing and thermoforming technologies opens up various possibilities in different sectors, such as household appliances and the automotive industry, where their use has spread to car instrument panels, for example.

These new solutions are rapidly changing how electronic functionalities are manufactured and integrated into any instrument or component and will be tested for the first time in Europe for space applications in a new project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The main challenge of the Printed Structural Electronics (SIPRES) initiative will be to develop, manufacture and validate the use of flexible, printed and hybrid electronics with different prototypes that are able to operate properly in the extreme temperature, vacuum and radiation conditions required for space exploration and research missions.

The weight of the devices and elements that are sent into space is a key determinant of the success of space missions. This technology, with its reduced material usage and weight, can make future missions cheaper and more sustainable. It opens the door to integrating electronic capabilities more easily into multiple components and surfaces regardless of shape.

TEKNIKER, ALTER TECHNOLOGY and CT Ingenieros will participate in the project.

Once developed, tested and validated, the first technology demonstrators could be implemented with nanosatellite platforms commonly used for research in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or in verifying the International Space Station (ISS) test campaign.

Based on the roadmap established by ESA, the application of the final prototypes for future missions to the Moon and Mars could be considered.

Solutions that could be developed with this technology include the integration of wind and humidity sensors for Mars rovers; radiation, temperature and photodetection sensors for the Moon; force sensors for spacecraft mechanisms; or solar and thermal energy systems for small low-orbiting satellites.

These solutions also open up possibilities for online telemetry supervision, i.e. for real-time remote monitoring and data transmission.

The SIPRES initiative, which will start this October and run for two years, is funded by ESA under its TDE technology development programme.