ISS MARKS PRODUCTION OF FIRST SPACE 3-D PART
The international space station (ISS) has received a 3-D printer which has just printed about 20 small parts that were planned. This printer served as a prototype for a space additive manufacturing capability. This tool may one day be an essential part of deep space explorations.
“For the first time, it’s no longer true that rockets are the only way to send hardware to space,” Mike Chen, chief strategy officer for Made In Space, said in a Nov. 25 statement marking the milestone. The Moffett Field, a California-based startup developed the prototype for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center under their small business innovation research program.
The agency is looking to add manufacturing as a critical source for space parts. This new feature will now permit the recycling of critical materials. This technology is reshaping the deep-space resupply strategies as we know them.
With rigorous and step-by-step testing, demonstration, and pacing enthusiasm, 3-D space printing would be promised said a recent National Research Council Study which endorsed this promise.
The return of initial test components and their evaluation will permit refinements to a second Made In Space printer. This new printer is scheduled to launch to the ISS in early 2015.
With so many possibilities of having a 3-D printer in space, there are bound to be many discoveries, enhancements, and milestones that will be made. This milestone is the milestone of many others to come.