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Californian off-world manufacturer Made In Space has been awarded with a $73.7 million contract from NASA to demonstrate 3D printing in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Using Archinaut One, a small spacecraft capable of additive manufacturing in micro-gravity, Made In Space will 3D print two extending 10 meter beams from each side of the system. Each beam will enable two solar arrays that generate five times more power than traditional solar panels on satellites of similar size.
Jim - Reuter - Administrator - NASA - Space
Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, explained, “In-space robotic manufacturing and assembly are unquestionable game-changers and fundamental capabilities for future space exploration.”
“BY TAKING THE LEAD IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOLOGY, THE UNITED STATES WILL MAINTAIN ITS LEADERSHIP IN SPACE EXPLORATION AS WE PUSH FORWARD WITH ASTRONAUTS TO THE MOON AND THEN ON TO MARS.”
Archinaut - System - Integrates - Space - Extended
The Archinaut system, first announced in 2015, integrates Made In Space’s Extended Structure Additive Manufacturing Machine (ESAMM), which 3D prints engineering thermoplastics in the vacuum and temperature environment of space. Last year, the Archinaut system manufactured a 37.7 meter-long beam which was recognized by the Guinness World Record as the “longest 3D printed non-assembled piece.”
The aim of the Archinaut project is to allow for remote, in-space construction of communications antennae, large-scale space telescopes and other complex structures. This will eliminate the spacecraft volume limits imposed by rockets and reduce...
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