The University has a long history of space research. For a long time, TPU scientists have been developing innovative technologies for space exploration. TPU research team, led by Oleg Alimov, made a great contribution to the study of the Moon. They developed a drilling device for the automatic lunar station Luna-24, which was used to obtain and transfer a lunar sample.
Currently, the Luna-24 model is exhibited in the Museum of TPU history and the University researchers have new space challenges. For example, it is a design of materials with a multi-level hierarchical structure for the creation of light and reliable structures of advanced spacecraft technology. Another example is the creation of equipment and technologies for applying radiation-resistant coatings on spacecraft elements and development of layer-by-layer technologies that is additive growing of necessary functional products in space conditions.
Space exploration demands international collaboration. Nowadays discoveries and breakthrough ideas are generated by network centers around the globe and one of such centers in Russia is TPU. The University jointly with Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science SB RAS (ISPMS) and Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (Energia) develops space resource-efficient technologies and materials.
Since 2013 TPU and ISPMS have conducted a research mega-project, dedicated to the development of a highly effective quality control technology for compounds, obtained by the friction stir welding method for producing spacecraft hull components of the new generation.
In 2014 TPU Scientific School Physical Mesomechanics of Materials and Nanotechnologies, headed by Viktor Panin an Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, presented a project in Development of Approaches and Methods of Nonlinear Mechanics to Designing Multilayer Nanostructured Coatings with High Dissipative Capacity For Operation Under Extreme Loading Conditions.
In 2015 the University in collaboration with ISPMS and Energia established a research and education center Modern Production Technologies and a center for advanced studies Multilevel Dynamic Modeling of Materials and Structures.
One of the most remarkable projects is a glass for portholes of spacecraft and unique multilayered nanocomposite coatings designed by TPU scientists together with their partners. The coatings keep the portholes clear, protecting them from the impacts of high-speed space microparticles. TPU and ISPMS completed the development phase of optically transparent coatings for portholes and received a patent. According to the developers, at the moment, the anti-meteoritic transparent coating is a unique product. Transparent multilayered nanostructured metal-ceramic coatings have a high relaxation capacity (material property to damp energy). This allows the glass to prolong its optical properties and transparency. Currently, the University is working on the technical specifications for space experiments at the International Space Station (ISS) to study the effects of space factors on optically transparent protective coatings. The first batch of glasses has already been delivered to Energia for testing.
It is worth saying that in the nearest future all Russian cargo spacecraft will be equipped with porthole glass, processed by Tomsk Polytechnic University.
This year a research team headed by Professor Uglov, leading research fellow of the TPU Laboratory No. 1, received a grant for studies of radiation-resistant coatings for use in the space industry.
May 11, 2016, the Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite transmitted congratulations on the 120th anniversary of the University from the International Space Station recorded by TPU students in 11 languages. The Tomsk-TPU-120 is the first Russian spacecraft designed using 3D printing technologies and unique materials at research and educational center Advanced Manufacture Technologies of TPU in cooperation with Energia and ISPMS. The nanosatellite was launched to the ISS aboard the Progress MS-02 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The 3D-printing experiment has already been included in the Long-Term Program of Scientific and Applied Studies and Experiments planned in the Russian segment of the ISS. This is a test of the 3D-printer in a zero-gravity. The device will print consumable materials and parts at the ISS.
This bold research on the forefront of the world science requires relevant highly-qualified specialists. The University jointly with Space Corporation Energia developed an original Master degree program in Technologies of Space Materials Science. Above all, TPU and Energia plan to establish an aerospace class at TPU Lyceum, which allows training prospective student for the industry.