As man landed on the moon for the first time in 19xx, it is going to be the first mission for 3D printer in 2014. The 3D printer is all set to print some object of the earth and it is going to create a history. NASA in association with another partner, Made in Space has plans to introduce the 3D printer in its pursuance of further exploration of space or the solar system.
Purpose of 3D printer as mission
• To ensure and enhance safety of space mission
• To study the manufacturing capabilities in outer space
• To increase the reliability of each and every space mission
• To bring down the space mission cost to the minimum levels
At the beginning, the 3D printer will start its work with light weight assignments. The 3D printer’s capability will be checked by printing simple test coupons. Thereafter, the printer will be assigned to the printing jobs so that small parts and tools and equipments will be produced. Extrusion addition technology will be used to produce 3D objects (layer by layer). The first printer is likely to be ready by August 2014.
As per Made in Science, the design data (digital files to produce objects) will be loaded into the computer that goes to the space. These files can also be sent through the uplink facility from the controlling earth station.
By going for 3D printing, it is estimated that space journeys will become cheaper in the coming days. It will also be very easy. As per the information provided by the Made in Space, 30% of the objects that are present in the space station can be printed through the 3D printer. Hence, if there is any issue with any such parts, the same can be printed. This will avoid expensive space flights.
The dependence on materials that are to be sourced from the earth will be reduced. The gap between earth and space (in terms of manufacturing capability) will decrease as space missions can be accomplished at the efficiency as it can be achieved on the earth. Further, the explorative capability of NASA will further extend with the launch of 3D printer.
Expansion and utilization of 3D printer technologies
3D printer technologies are utilized in diverse ways. Recently NASA ordered a 3D printer that can prepare food for astronauts. The printer is intended to produce pizzas whose shelf life will be for years. If the plan becomes successful, it will be possible to extend the space journey. The astronauts will be able to stay for a long period of time in space and will accomplish all R&D activities.
The reason for choosing Made in Space is that it has accomplished other related projects quite successfully. It has pioneered in the utilization of space printing technology in airplanes where the gravity will be almost zero. The company has ambitious plans to produce another robust and worthy 3D printer which will be available by 2016 for orbiting lab.