Feeds

NASA finds use for 3D printers: Launch them into SPAAACE

Aims to fab spare parts for space station out of squirty plastic

Application security programs and practises

NASA has commissioned a custom 3D printer capable of working in microgravity that will be sent to the International Space Station to build parts for the facility and the scientific experiments it contains.

Testing zero G printing in space

Zero G flights are good for testing, bad for hair

The printer has been designed by Made in Space, an American startup, and is being tested on parabolic flights to make sure the printer can lay precise rows of material without the effects of gravity. Testing is still going on, but Made in Space CEO Aaron Kemmer confirmed the device has been certified to be sent into orbit next year.

"The 3D printing experiment with NASA is a step towards the future. The ability to 3D print parts and tools on-demand greatly increases the reliability and safety of space missions while also dropping the cost by orders of magnitude," said Kemmer in a statement.

"The first printers will start by building test coupons, and will then build a broad range of parts, such as tools and science equipment."

Made in Space 3D printer

Final testing for the printer nearly complete

Printing in zero gravity isn't the only problem the designers have had to deal with. Actually getting into orbit, with the vibration and acceleration needed for a launch, has also presented challenges to the designers. But NASA seems happy with the results so far.

"We're taking additive manufacturing technology to new heights, by working with Made in Space to test 3D printing aboard the space station," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington.

"Taking advantage of our orbiting national laboratory, we'll be able to test new manufacturing techniques that benefit our astronauts and America's technology development pipeline." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.