Feeds

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

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.