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Popular Science: 3D printer, The "hardware store" Space Station

Date:2016-03-24 Hits:299
Popular Science: 3D printer, The
On 22 March “Cygnus”cargo ship ,was carrying suppliers for the international Space Station,one of the upgraded version of the 3d printer particularly noticeable. Why ISS need 3D printer?

The CTO Jason Dunn provide 3D printer for NASA believes that space exploration is like camping, once some equipment suffer damage, they often need to “ go home” to make some process so that 3D printing can provide possibility to the space station maintenance.


Whether the space station toilet repair required special wrench, or the satellite knocked a hole,the ground control personnel can be sent required spare parts drawings to the 3D printer located on space station. 3D printer just like a convenient "hardware store" on the space station.


Modern people pay attention to "travel light", and space flight is no exception.Dunn explained that the raw material is much lighter than the finished product, in the long term the 3D printing can reduce delivery time to space station, so that can save the cost of space launch. On the process of space launch, the comprehensive resistance of 3d printing materials is stronger than the finished part, the finished product production assembly equipment need an additional reinforcement to prevent them from excessive vibration, only reduce one will be able to reinforcement spacecraft payload.

In addition, many research projects for an experiment in a micro-gravity environment, the size of laboratory equipment, the weight limit is bring transport costs become a bottleneck in the development of many projects, and 3D printing conducting possible for such studies. Scientists mainly use on Earth for the fall freefall drop tower and aircraft parabolic flight micro-gravity research, but micro-gravity experiments of large equipment can not be carried out. "Space Manufacturing" company has begun to accept the way businesses and individuals through 3D printing hardware in space to carry out product testing, each print charges ranging from 6,000 and $ 30,000.

"Space creating" the company's head of product strategy Spencer Pittman said the space station send 3D printer is just the first step, the company is also developing materials recycling equipment under a zero-gravity environment, the space station program 3D printing waste products into the recycling of raw materials and re-use of it. Another robot developed its mounting platform is able to automatically assemble the 3D printer produced large accessories. "In the near future, small satellite is expected to be like Lego-like print mounted on the space station."


NASA spokesman Tracy McMahon said that 3D printing is possible to help people develop other planets in the future, interstellar pioneers may use 3D print tools to better develop extraterrestrial resources, build homes and infrastructure alien.