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3d Printing Made In Space

By Author: John Joel

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When travelling through space, there are certain items you know you are going to need. A Spacesuit? Most likely. A Towel? Some say it’s the most massively useful item you can have. For all the rest, NASA has a new plan: 3D printers in space.

I always wonder about astronauts up in the space station. If they need to fix something but are missing a part, how would they get it? How do we get to the point where we could build a lunar base? Or be able to build space stations, space craft in space? How would they be able to build such a large scale project in space?

Of course the obvious answer would be that they are fully stocked with many types of resources for this type of situation. All space missions today are completely dependent on Earth for the launch vehicles that send equipment to space. The greater the distance from Earth and the longer the duration, the more difficult it will be to resupply materials. 3D printing has been a revelation within the technology industry and it is constantly improving and doing cool new things. However, it is now that we may be seeing this technology take ‘one giant leap for 3D printers’ to aid in the production and manufacture of materials in space.

Made in Space Inc. and NASA have joined forces to send a 3D microgravity printer to the international space station. To prepare for a future where parts can be built on-demand in space, Made in Space, the space manufacturing company, has partnered with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to launch the first 3D printer to space.

Made in Space’s customized 3D printer will be the first device to manufacture parts away from planet Earth. The 3D printing in Zero-G Experiment will validate the capability of additive manufacturing in zero-gravity.

The prospect of 3D Printing in zero gravity, could one day lead to building spacecraft in space or even, space stations and bases on other planets.To get to that point, the initial research to be undertaken will be able to test whether we can manufacture parts in space using the extrusion additive manufacturing, from the 3D printer, which builds objects out of different types of materials. 3D printing in space will radically enable the space industry. Building parts, structures, and tools in space will not only reduce launch mass and size constraints, it will also enable the capability to build parts when needed, on-demand.

The Made in Space and NASA team envisions a future where space missions can be virtually self-sufficient and manufacture most of what they need in space. This includes such things as consumables, common tools and replacements for lost or broken parts.It will even include thingslike cube sats (small,deployable satellites).

In a recent news release after the announcement of the new partnership, Made In Space CEO Aaron Kemmer stated “The ability to 3D print parts and tools on demand greatly increases the reliability and safety of space missions while also dropping the cost by orders of magnitude.”

The prospect 3D printing in space is another really exciting technology that could see the next step in space exploration.

iPrint Technologies is an international company dedicated to bringing you the best desktop 3D printer technology available. We are committed to making 3D printing better, faster and simpler so that the technology is accessible to everyone. Hundreds of our 3D Printing Printer machines have been shipped worldwide to satisfied customers.

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