The first 3D printer to the ISS was launched by Made in Space in 2014, as part of its partnership with NASA. The pioneering machine is now controlled by NASA, while Made in Space retained ownership of the AMF
Fremont,CA: California-based Made in Space is prepared to launch its plastic recycler towards the orbiting International Space Station on board Northrop Grumman's Robotic Cygnus cargo spacecraft. This new recycler will be able to process plastic into feedstock for Made in Space's Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), a 3D printer available for commercial use.
"The Recycler will complete the plastic sustainability life cycle on-orbit by providing astronauts with the ability to convert plastic packaging and trash as well as objects previously fabricated by the 3D printer into feedstock to be reused by the printer," said a Made in Space representative.
The first 3D printer to the ISS was launched by Made in Space in 2014, as part of its partnership with NASA. The pioneering machine is now controlled by NASA, while Made in Space retained ownership of the AMF. "The invention will improve the autonomy and sustainability of long-duration space missions, while also helping to reduce the cost and weight of payloads carried from Earth," the representative added.
Made in Space also manufactured the valuable optic fibre ZBLAN aboard the ISS multiple times, using a microwave sized machine that was transported to and from the ISS onboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule. This machine has the potential to be far more superior than traditional silica-based optic fibre but is equally challenging to produce. The company believes that making ZBLAN in orbit could help kick-start the off-Earth manufacturing economy.
As per the company's plans, they will be sending up other gear up to the ISS soon. Recently NASA awarded a USD 73.7 million contract to Made in Space, to launch the first test mission of Archinaut. The Archinaut is a spacecraft that is equipped with robotic arms and a 3D printer. The 3D printer is designed to augment and repair existing satellites as well as build large structures while in orbit. The Archinuat One mission is expected to take off sometime in 2022 on board a Rocket Lab Electron Booster.
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