With 3D printing in space, an email and a few hours can do what once took years
“Though single payloads take years just to be launch-ready, Made in Space proposes a radically different turnaround time which founders say is the printer’s biggest advantage. “With printing, you don’t have to actually test the rocket anymore, you just instantly beam the hardware in space through an email and build it there in minutes to hours rather than years,” Kemmer says.
The team has even surprised themselves with use cases where failure is needed such as experimenting in space–a task that, until now, has only been doable on Earth, taking years to get results.
Along with experimentation, the team is taking the hacker mentality to satellites that would be deployed at a fraction of the time, says Dunn. “We can build small little satellites called CubeSats that launch out of the space station, that are about 4 ½ inches on the side which you’d hack together because it’s that easy to just send up the file and print it out.”
Having the printer’s hardware ready within six months of their contract, Made in Space further defied production time by sending some of the fastest experiments NASA’s ever seen.“
Fascinating implications. The first time I heard about this project, I didn’t realize all the implications.