Made In Space, a space manufacturing company specialised in realizing the application of 3D printing in space just made a major breakthrough. The first modified (proprietary) 3D printer passed a series of critical microgravity tests at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. The examinations were conducted during four microgravity flights (each lasting two hours) that simulated the conditions found on the ISS.
The printer, as part of the 3D Print Experiment in coordination with NASA, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014.
“Humanity’s future ultimately depends on our ability to explore and occupy space. The 3D printing technologies developed and tested during our Zero-G flights are a cornerstone to building that future. We reached a milestone in our goal to lay that cornerstone with the success of these prototype tests,” said Mike Snyder, P.I. on the 3D Print Experiment and Lead Design Engineer.
“The 3D printer we’re developing for the ISS is all about enabling astronauts today to be less dependent on Earth,” said Noah Paul-Gin, Microgravity Experiment Lead. “The version that will arrive on the ISS next year has the capability of building an estimated 30% of the spare parts on the station, as well as various objects such as specialty tools and experiment upgrades.”
Source: Made In Space