MADE IN SPACE

MADE IN SPACE (2)

History was made on the International Space Station (ISS) early Tuesday morning when the first 3D printer built to operate in space successfully began manufacturing. This is the first time that hardware has been additively manufactured in space, as opposed being launched from Earth.

“When the first human fashioned a tool from a rock, it couldn’t have been conceived that one day we’d be replicating the same fundamental idea in space,” said Aaron Kemmer, CEO, Made In Space, Inc. “We look at the operation of the 3D printer as a transformative moment, not just for space development, but for the capability of our species to live off Earth.”

The first part made in space is a functional part of the printer itself - a faceplate for its own extruder printhead. “This ‘First Print’ serves to demonstrate the potential of the technology to produce replacement parts on demand if a critical component fails in space,” said Jason Dunn, Chief Technical Officer for Made In Space.

For the entirety of the space program, tools and parts have been built on Earth and required a rocket to get to space. The presence of a 3D printer onboard the ISS will allow hardware designs to be made on Earth and then digitally beamed to the space station, where the physical object will be created in a matter of hours. “For the first time, it’s no longer true that rockets are the only way to send hardware to space,” said Mike Chen, Chief Strategy Officer for Made In Space.

The “3D Printing in Zero-Gravity Experiment” is being jointly conducted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Made In Space, which designed and built the 3D printer for NASA through their Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“The ISS has provided us with an ideal laboratory for demonstrating this game-changing technology that will not only benefit the station, but will also enable sustainable deep space missions,” said Niki Werkheiser, program manager for the project at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Following the initial printing phase, NASA and Made In Space will be conducting additional additive manufacturing experiments onboard ISS. A second printer will be launched to the ISS next year, which will serve as an invaluable tool for astronauts, government and also commercial businesses on Earth.

“In 1957, Sputnik became the first man-made object in space and, 12 years later, that led to humans setting foot on the moon,” said Kemmer. “Now, in 2014, we’ve taken another significant step forward – we’ve started operating a machine that will lead us to continual manufacturing in space. Decades from now, people will look back to this event…it will be seen as the moment when the paradigm of how we get hardware to space changed.”

For more information, visit: www.madeinspace.us/nasa-and-made-in-space-inc-make-history-by-successfully-3d-printing-first-object-in-space

Friday, 23 December 2011 11:15

MADE IN SPACE: 3D Printers In Zero-Gravity

Written by

MADE IN SPACE, a start-up dedicated to providing solutions for manufacturing in space, announced the successful completion of testing 3D printers in zero-gravity.

The test took place on multiple zero-gravity flights provided by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. Two modified off-the-shelf 3D printers were tested, including one provided by their partner 3D Systems, a leading provider of 3D printing solutions. The company also tested a custom-made printer that’s designed to manufacture structures in space.

Several objects were printed during the flight, including a scaled-down wrench that became the first ever tool printed through partial zero-gravity. They also built a part that was designed by Within Technologies to be optimized for complete strength-to-mass ratio.

MADE IN SPACE believes the advantages of 3D printing — limited material waste, the ability to build complex geometries, immediate production time, and minimal human involvement required — make it the perfect manufacturing system for outer space.

“3D printing and in-space manufacturing will dramatically change the way we look at space exploration, commercialization, and mission design today.” said Aaron Kemmer, CEO and Co-Founder of MADE IN SPACE. “The possibilities range from building on-demand parts for human missions to building large space habitats that are optimized for space.”

Once the printers and material are set in space, missions will have the freedom to build what they need when they need it and not have to rely on transport from Earth.

The company flew the printers in order to better understand how 3D printing works in a space-like environment.

“Based on past research, we already knew that 3D printing works in zero-g to some degree. The question we are answering is how well does it work.” said Jason Dunn, CTO and co-founder.

For the flight, MADE IN SPACE partnered with Autodesk,a world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, who provided software and techniques to optimize space-based design principles for practical applications.

The test in zero-gravity is a crucial first step for the company. Over the next month, they will be conducting post-flight analysis, and have plans for further zero-gravity testing over the upcoming year.

For more information and on-going updates from their experiments, visit: www.madeinspace.us

Copyright © 2018 Prototype Today ®. All rights reserved.

|   Privacy Policy |   Terms & Conditions |   Contact Us |

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Additive Manufacturing Today