Earlier NASA announced that it was making a couple of 3D printers in order to send into space. The space agency even showed a video of how the 3D printers would work in the space. But what the agency couldn’t say firmly that when it would launch the 3D printer into space for the first time. Now, we have come to know that for the first time NASA will launch a 3D printer to ISS on September 19.
Last year, NASA signed a deal with the Mountain View, California-based company Made in Space Inc. to launch 3D printer as a Zero G Experiment. And since then, NASA as well as Made in Space Inc. had been making this special kind of 3D printer.
This 3D printer has the size of a small microwave and is mainly designed as a proof of concept to see if printing in zero gravity can create objects that are as accurate and as strong as those produced by a printer on Earth. The 3D printer will use extrusion additive manufacturing, which builds objects, layer by layer, out of polymers and other materials.
According to NASA, “3D printing may allow an entire spacecraft to be manufactured in space, eliminating design constraints caused by the challenges and mass constraints of launching from Earth. This same technology may help revolutionize American manufacturing and benefit U.S. industries.”
The printer is scheduled to launch towards ISS boarding atop SpaceX-4 on September 19. It is expected that the printer would be used to create tools and parts to replace broken items.