MOFFETT FIELD, CA, March 27, 2018 — Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) is celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) printing onboard the International Space Station (ISS). During this time, AMF has additively manufactured nearly 100 individual parts for a variety of commercial and private customers.
AMF is a second-generation, in-space 3D printer that currently utilizes three different polymers: ABS plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), Green PE (polyethylene bioplastic) and space-capable plastic PEI/PC. The device had superb operations tempo in 2017, printing for customers almost every week. MIS plans to incorporate stronger, more complex materials in the future such as metals, composites and carbon nanotube-doped materials. AMF’s modular hardware design allows for continual upgrades.
“The Additive Manufacturing Facility is an important technology for Made In Space,” said MIS President & CEO Andrew Rush. “Not only does AMF provide mission readiness by removing months of wait times for mission-critical parts, pieces, and tools, the printer provides us with a subsystem testbed for other initiatives, like Archinaut and the Industrial Crystal Facility. Operating AMF for the last two years has been a great privilege. We look forward to continuing to do great work on Station.”
MIS has been manufacturing in space since 2014 and is currently the only company in the world doing so. AMF enables customers to have their engineering designs digitally sent to space where parts are manufactured in a matter of hours, forgoing the need to use a rocket to transport the designs, saving costs and providing gains in overall efficiency.
A great example of this on-demand capability is a print commissioned by NASA for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) earlier this year. AMF fabricated radiation shields in various thicknesses to cover sensors used in testing the effects of radiation on-board BEAM, which is connected to the Earth-facing side of ISS.
Another significant advantage is the ability to manufacture the structural frame of CubeSats. Once functional hardware components arrive to station, CubeSats are pieced together by astronauts before the devices are deployed. In the future, the process of launching the electronics to Station could be alleviated through the integration of printed electronics and pick and place capabilities into AMF or successor devices .
Imagery from these two projects is available here.
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.