Posted On: 2015-08-19 01:27:27 ; Read: 906 time(s)

Building 3D Printed Satellites in Orbit

Made In Space and NanoRacks Partner for off-Earth built CubeSats

 

A new partnership could pave the way for the first off-Earth assembly line and this partnership comes from two expected players in the industry - Made in Space and NanoRacks. The use of 3D printing for their project is also something we could have guessed when Made In Space started providing 3D printing services for NASA and recently developing 3D printing process that can be performed in the outer space vacuum. It is quite obvious that Made in Space have serious ambition for space exploration and developing the technologies needed for it using 3D printing.

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Thus, Made In Space, a company already proven its capability of manufacturing technology in space, and NanoRacks, a company that can deploy small CubeSats into orbit from the ISS, have teamed up to offer a “Stash and Deploy” service for CubeSat developers. If you don’t know what cubesats are we explain - they are very tiny satellites.

Together the companies believe they will be soon able to build and deploy satellites from the International Space Station (ISS) or other satellite deployment platforms, using NanoRacks’ heritage in CubeSat deployment and Made In Space’s in-orbit additive manufacturing capabilities. Made In Space successfully completed its 3-D Printing in Zero-G Experiment (3-D Print) in 2014, and plans to launch a new 3D printer, the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), to the ISS by the end of 2015.

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NanoRacks and Made in Space plan to cache a variety of standard and customer-specific satellite components aboard the ISS for rapid manufacturing. Made In Space’s AMF will be used to create custom structures, optimized for both the space environment and customer need.

According to Andrew Rush, president of Made In Space, this enterprise is a fundamental shift for satellite production and he and the two companies’ teams predict that in the very near future satellites will be manufactured easily and quickly and will be customized to meet the needs of each individual customer. This will eliminate the overbuilding of these devices to survive launch.

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Made In Space and NanoRacks all expect that their Stash and Deploy service will be less time-consuming and cost less than building, launching and deploying satellites from ground. The companies are really focused on their partnership and see its bright future. That’s why the first steps of the Stash and Deploy program will be available as early as the first three months of the next 2016 year.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, explains the reason driving the companies to work fast on the project “Looking out a few years this option may be more desirable than launch and deploy.”

Building 3D Printed Satellites in Orbit