What if astronauts could manufacture whatever they needed while in space?
That is the question behind a NASA funded small business Made In Space. After successful testing on micro-gravity flights back in 2011 (the playfully named “Vomit Comet”) plans are in place to put an additive manufacturing machine on the International Space Station (ISS).
From the NASA press release Charles Bolden stated “We’ll need transformative tecnology to reduce cargo weight and volume… In the future, perhaps astronauts will be able to print the tools or components they need in space”.
CEO of Made In Space, Aaron Kemmer, added “The ability to 3-D print parts and tools on demand greatly increases the reliability and safety of space missions while also dropping the costs by orders of magnitude”.
Both organizations are reporting that the device is planned to launch sometime in 2014 during a re-supply flight. Bloomberg news visited Singularity University in Moffett Field California, where Made In Space is headquartered, for more information.