Made In Space is building a satellite that can 3D print itself in space. If successful, their satellite could revolutionize how we design future spacecraft.
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Archinaut One is just a test, but if it’s successful, it could completely change the way we build satellites in space. Imagine what that type of technology could do for future lunar habitats like NASA’s Gateway outpost or conceptual technology that has never been feasible to fly to space like star shades or space interferometers.
And having on orbit 3D printing capabilities lessens the need for heavy payloads and allows astronauts to print their own tools because, as we venture out beyond low-Earth orbit, there’ll be a lot of things we’ll need along for the trip. And on top of that, Archinaut One could also be capable of repairing and building upon existing structures, which could help reduce the need for astronaut spacewalks, which could be dangerous.
So let’s just say Archinaut One is going to have its hands full once it launches. But we still have a while to go before we see the satellite take to the skies. Right now, Archinaut One is expected to launch in early 2023. And when it does, it could reshape how we build and live in space.
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“As NASA’s Artemis program prepares to return explorers to the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable missions there by 2028 – a prelude to crewed Mars missions to come – NASA seeks to develop an expansive, robust space infrastructure and conduct remote, in-space manufacturing and construction.”
NASA Funds Demo of 3D-Printed Spacecraft Parts Made, Assembled in Orbit
“NASA has awarded a $73.7 million contract to Made In Space, Inc. of Mountain View, California, to demonstrate the ability of a small spacecraft, called Archinaut One, to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit. ”
Archinaut, a Construction Robot for Space, Could Launch a Test Flight in 2022
“Off-Earth manufacturing is set to take a giant leap a few years from now. NASA has awarded California startup Made In Space $73.7 million to give the company’s “Archinaut” spacecraft-assembly technology an orbital test.”
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