Cape Canaveral, FL, December 6, 2017 – Next week, Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) will send its third manufacturing device to the International Space Station since 2014, a landmark achievement the company hopes will usher in a new wave of commercial in-space manufacturing. The payload – named Made In Space Fiber Optics – will launch on SpaceX’s CRS-13. Once installed on the International Space Station (ISS), the device will manufacture ZBLAN optical fiber for several weeks before returning to Earth for materials evaluation and testing prior to final delivery to partners and customers.
MIS has been working with the Center For Advancement of Science In Space (CASIS) for the past few years to install a FIber Optics device on the ISS National Laboratory to demonstrate ZBLAN production. The technology was developed in partnership with Thorlabs, who will provide the raw material preforms for the optical fiber. Additionally, Space Florida facilitated financing to Made In Space in support of fiber optics research and development.
“We believe Fiber Optics is one of the best terrestrial use-cases for a space-enabled material,” said Andrew Rush, President & CEO of Made In Space, Inc. “ZBLAN optical fiber has the potential to serve as the first product created in space on an industrial scale. With great support from Thorlabs, Space Florida, and working with CASIS for access to the ISS National Lab, we’re confident that this device will manufacture an optical fiber that’s superior to current terrestrially-produced versions.”
MIS expects that manufacturing this material in a microgravity environment will provide significant quality improvements over versions produced on Earth. When this optical fiber is created on Earth, small crystals form in the material which increase signal loss. In transcontinental telecommunication lines, expensive repeaters have to be installed to make up for lost signal. An optical fiber without these crystals would improve transmission efficiency, reducing the need for expensive repeaters. ZBLAN optical fiber could also be used in medical lasers and for various defense applications.
About Made In Space:
Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) is the world’s most experienced space manufacturing company. Established in 2010 and with offices in Florida, California, Alabama and Ohio, MIS leverages the unique properties of the space environment to develop manufacturing solutions to commercial, industrial, research and defense challenges. The company’s vision is to enable the future of space exploration by offering off-Earth manufacturing capabilities. For more information about MIS, visit www.madeinspace.us.
The Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is the non-profit organization selected to manage the ISS National Laboratory with a focus on enabling a new era of space research to improve life on Earth. In this innovative role, CASIS promotes and brokers a diverse range of research in life sciences, physical sciences, remote sensing, technology development, and education.
About Space Florida:
Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov
Bryan Culbert Communications