- NASA Headquarters has selected Made In Space, Inc. to lead the next phase in the ongoing development of in-space manufacturing
November 19, 2015 – Mountain View, CA – NASA‘s Space Technology Mission Directorate announced its selection of the Made In Space project proposal for utilizing public-private partnerships to advance Tipping Point Technologies. The NASA funded project, designated “Archinaut,” is designed to develop the necessary technologies and subsystems which will enable the first additive manufacturing, aggregation, and assembly of large and complex systems in space without astronaut extravehicular activity.
“Archinaut is being designed from the ground up to be a truly cross-cutting technology, providing entirely new space capabilities for NASA and other government missions as well as both pre-existing commercial satellite manufacturers and emerging commercial space platforms,” said Andrew Rush, President of Made In Space.
To capitalize on this NASA provided opportunity, Made In Space is teaming up with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems in order to leverage their unique expertise. Made in Space will lead the team, applying their established space-based additive manufacturing technology. Northrop Grumman will provide expertise in electronic interfaces and external thermal control analysis. Oceaneering Space Systems will design and build the manipulator arm.
“In addition to transforming the current state-of-the-art for space manufacturing, the development of the Archinaut capability will be a great opportunity for Made In Space to collaborate with established space companies which possess complimentary resources and proven expertise,” said Mike Snyder, Co-Founder and Chief Engineer.
The full vision of Archinaut will enable spacecraft which manufacture and assemble unlaunchable structures once on orbit, enabling new mission capabilities such as large antennas and base stations. The initial Archinaut Phase I program will perform a series of technology demonstrations in order to bring the final technical hurdles beyond the tipping point for commercial feasibility.
Archinaut follows Made in Space’s previous work with NASA in developing additive manufacturing for space, including the demonstrator, “3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment,” currently deployed aboard ISS, and the commercially operated Additive Manufacturing Facility, scheduled for launch in the first half of 2016.
“Archinaut is a major milestone on the roadmap for bringing large scale manufacturing to space. This announcement is a result of the technology development that has been underway since our company’s inception and sets the stage for what is to come in both the public and private sectors,” said Jason Dunn, Co-Founder and CTO Jason Dunn.
About NASA’s Tipping Point Technologies
A technology relevant to NASA is considered at the tipping point if an investment in a demonstration of its capabilities would result in a significant advancement of the technology’s maturation, high likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and significant improvement in the ability to successfully bring the technology to market.
About Made In Space
Made In Space. Inc. (MIS) was founded in 2010 as the world’s first space manufacturing company. MIS was contracted by NASA to design, build, and operate the 3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment (3D Print) on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014. 3D Print became the first machine to manufacture off-Earth.
Controlled from a mission operations center at MIS HQ in the NASA Ames Research Park, the device allows for hardware to be digitally sent to space and printed out. By the end of 2015 the company will launch a new 3D printer, the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), to provide hardware manufacturing services to both NASA and the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS. As the first commercially available manufacturing in space, the AMF will put the capability of off-world manufacturing in the hands of space developers everywhere.
Source: Made In Space