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How NASA will use 3D Printing in Zero Gravity

A 3D printer is slated to arrive at the International Space Station next year, where it will start producing the first parts ever manufactured off planet Earth.

The goal of 3-D printing for NASA is to take this capability to microgravity for use on the International Space Station. In space, whatever astronauts have available on orbit is what they have to use but just like on Earth, parts break or get lost. When that happens, there’s a wait for replacement parts, or the need to have multiple spares that have to be launched. The ability to conduct 3-D printing in space could change all of that.

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14 Comments

  1. This will make them more flexible let’s say a repair or whatever it might be and they don’t have the hardware, problem solved let’s make some, hopefully one day in the near future we cam mine the moon for materials.

  2. WE CAN MAKE THINGS ON DEMAND OUT OF ANYTHING!! PLASTIC, METAL, CERAMIC CAN ALL BE PRINTED ON DEMAND. How does this not blow your mind?

  3. The accuracy when making things is unreal, far better and far quicker than doing it by hand. Also with the way the tech is moving, we could eventually make pretty much anything by 3D printing (printing clothes is just around the corner).

  4. You still have to bring the material that the machine uses. So this really solves nothing. Instead of ships full of things we have a ship full of plastic dust. What if the printer breaks down?

  5. Great idea. Maybe they could use 3D printing on submarines and ocean-going vessels as well, and remote locations like Antarctica.

  6. NASA Thank you… so many things we use today to improve ourselves “all of us” come from your research… thank you again.

  7. I’m guessing they would have more than one to print replacement parts but if it is a specialized part like the extruder nozzle they may need to send up another nozzle. In order to make it cost effective they might send up filament too…

  8. But how much of the printing material will you have to send up at each launch? Surely that will be a lot

  9. Very good and interesting idea…however, if the 3D printer breaks there might be issues…

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