3D Printing in Space: The Next Frontier
- Wednesday, 16 July 2014
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a long term strategy for In-space Manufacturing which includes fabricating components and equipment on-demand for human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. To support this strategy, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Made in Space, Inc. have developed the 3D Printing In Zero-G Technology Demonstration for the International Space Station (ISS). The 3D Printing In Zero-G experiment (‘3D Print’) will be the first machine ever to perform 3D printing in space.
The technology to produce parts on demand, in space, offers unique design options that are not possible through traditional manufacturing methods while offering cost-effective, high-precision, low-unit on-demand manufacturing. In addition to the obvious benefits of disrupting the traditional, and costly, supply chain for space missions, there is the value of being able to design and build a part in the microgravity environment, thus removing the standard structural constraints due to launch loads. This opens up a whole new design arena – designing for “zero-g” structures.
The 3D Printing In Zero-G experiment will serve as the enabling first step to realizing an additive manufacturing, print-on-demand “machine shop” for long-duration space missions.
NASA Project Manager
3D Printing in Zero-G Technology
Marchall Space Flight Center
Director of R&D
Made in Space, Inc.
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