A few months ago, Made in Space (MIS) revealed a system and method for assembling a spacecraft. The company aims at setting up a system that can allow next generation, space-optimized satellite design and deployment.
Thanks to the use of a thermal vacuum chamber (from NASA Ames Research Center) and ESAMM, the Extended Structure Additive Manufacturing Machine of MIS, the company shows how to 3D print in the vacuum while taking into account temperature.
This collaboration with NASA led to the “first-ever extended 3D-printed objects in a space-like environment. [It is] a significant milestone on the path to manufacturing systems and satellites in space.”
A few points raised by 3D printing in space
A few researches has been carried out to tackle the issue of 3D printing in space.
One of the concern raised is low gravity. This environment involves that design constraints (like the support material) can be ignored.
Furthermore, a big plus is that makers will not deal with difficult conditions during the launch of structures.
Last, “this expands the design space. [MIS] hopes that mission planners can now more confidently design missions around in-space, manufacturing and assembly, optimizing satellites for their operational environment, not just launch.”
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