The International Space Station’s 3-D printer has manufactured the first 3-D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term space expeditions.
„This first print is the initial step toward providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth,“ said Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the International Space Station 3-D Printer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. „The space station is the only laboratory where we can fully test this technology in space.”
NASA astronaut Barry „Butch“ Wilmore, Expedition 42 commander aboard the International Space Station, installed the printer on Nov. 17 and conducted the first calibration test print. Based on the test print results, the ground control team sent commands to realign the printer and printed a second calibration test on Nov. 20. These tests verified that the printer was ready for manufacturing operations. On Nov. 24, ground controllers sent the printer the command to make the first printed part: a faceplate of the extruder’s casing. This demonstrated that the printer can make replacement parts for itself. The 3-D printer uses a process formally known as additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low-temperature plastic filament and extrude it one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine.
(…weiter auf nasa.gov)
Space Station Live: Setting up a Machine Shop in Space
Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s 3-D Printing Project Manager, talks with Marshall Space Flight Center’s Bill Hubscher about today’s on-orbit set-up and first test run of the International Space Station’s 3-D Printer, a technology demonstration that is the first step toward establishing an on-demand machine shop in space to manufacture spare parts, a critical technology to enable future exploration of deep space.
(Quelle und weitere Infos: Youtube)