The team at Made In Space was proud to announce that on November 24th at 9:28pm GMT, their printer completed the first functional print in space. The item seen above is a face plate to cover wiring on the extruder of the printer, designed specifically for the space station. It was printed and installed in the international space station.
From the press release:
“This project demonstrates the basic fundamentals of useful manufacturing in space. The results of this experiment will serve as a stepping stone for significant future capabilities that will allow for the reduction of spare parts and mass on a spacecraft, which will change exploration mission architectures for the better,” said Mike Snyder, Director of R&D for Made In Space and Principal Investigator for this experiment. “Manufacturing components on demand will yield more efficient, more reliable, and less Earth dependent space programs in the near future.”
The plan now is that they will print a series of items which will then be brought back to earth and compared to their counterparts which were printed here. This will help determine what differences there are in printing in microgravity.
We caught up with the team from Made In Space earlier this year and did an interview about their printer and how they had to design it specifically for operation on the space station.