First 3D-Printed Object Developed in Space

  • The world's first zerogravity 3D printer on the International Space Station (ISS) has created the first object made using additive manufacturing,
  • The creation of this object has paved the way for future long-term space expeditions.
  • Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the ISS 3D printer at Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama said:This first print is the initial step towards providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth.The space station is the only laboratory where we can fully test this technology in space.
  • Nasa astronaut Barry Wilmore, Expedition 42 commander aboard the ISS, installed the printer on November 17 and conducted the first calibration test print.
  • Based on the results, the ground control team sent commands to realign the printer and printed a second calibration test on November 20.
  • These tests verified that the printer was ready for manufacturing operations.
  • On November 24, ground controllers sent the printer the command to make the first printed part: a faceplate of the extruder's casing.
  • Wilmore then removed it from the printer and inspected it.
  • Part adhesion on the tray was stronger than anticipated, which could mean layer bonding is different in microgravity , a question the team will investigate as future parts are printed.
  • Indian-origin researchers have deve loped a method that allows human waste in space to be converted into fuel that can be used to send future Nasa spacecraft from the moon back to Earth.
  • The process could also have applications on Earth, according to Pratap Pullammanappallil, a University of Florida associate professor.
  • Pullammanappallil said :It could be used on campus or around town, or anywhere, to convert waste into fuel.