3D printing Technology could change space missions (Video)

Equally revolutionary would be to manufacture parts on demand in zero gravity, in outer space. Silicon Valley-based startup Made in Space has built and tested a 3D printer to do that, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014.

3D printing Technology

Image credit: spacemart.com

“It’s difficult to anticipate what we are going to fix because you don’t know what is going to break. But the great thing about 3D printers is that whatever breaks, you can fix it in a day!” says Made in Space CEO Aaron Kemmer.

He recalls how this experiment failed before. New connectors were sent up from Earth and took several months and several millions of dollars in tests just so that the parts could survive the launch. Instead of planning for every possible situation, which is the current attitude in space missions and is incredibly expensive, materials could be carried on board and designs of parts needed could be printed as necessary.

But 3D printing has to overcome several limitations, the most crucial being the limitations of materials. Today objects can be 3D printed in approximately 70 materials only. At the commercial manufacturers’ level, new certifications and quality standards would accordingly need to be established.

Watch the video below to see how 3D printer works.

National Geographic Known Universe S03E06 Print Tools

Video Credit: Youtube/MrCrafty78



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