NASA’s 3D-Printer Off to Space This Month

3D-printing technology blasts off to greater heights with the launching to space this month of NASA’s 3d-printer.

The first 3D printer ever to fly in space will blast off this month, and NASA has high hopes for the innovative device’s test runs on the International Space Station. The 3D printer, which is scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab Sept. 19 aboard SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule, could help lay the foundation for broader in-space manufacturing capabilities, NASA officials said. The end result could be far less reliance on resupply from Earth, leading to cheaper and more efficient missions to faraway destinations such as Mars. Read more at:

NASA hopes Made in Space’s device works normally aboard the station, thus demonstrating that 3D printers can produce high-quality parts in space as well as on Earth. If that turns out to be the case, replacing a broken part or tool aboard the orbiting lab could be a matter of simply pushing a button. Read more here:

The long-term goal is to create a space-based machine shop for astronauts. If all goes well with this experiment, then NASA will move on to a more elaborate next-generation printer called the Additive Manufacturing Facility. NASA plans to allow researchers and scientists outside of the space agency access to this next-gen printer. See more here

 

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