Made In Space from America, a firm that is well-known for their 3D printers specifically built to work in microgravity. They use aerospace grade polymers and composites to make the components, in order to withstand the microgravity condition. If you use the typical 3D printers on the space, there is a big chance the object might get a disfigured design. Currently, the company partners up with NASA to build things on the ISS (International Space Station) with their Additive Manufacturing Technology (AMF).
Now, the Made In Space succeeded in making an entire manufacturing plant that floats over the orbit of the earth. The company is aiming at building satellites right from the space, to avoid transportation cost from earth to the space stations and extra assembling. The company calls the new project Archinaut.
What is Archinaut?
The Archinaut is a NASA-funded mission to implement large-scale on-demand manufacturing plants on the earth’s orbit. The project proposal was approved by America’s space agency NASA back in 2015, partnered up with Northrop Grumman Corporation and Oceaneering Space Systems as subcontractors. The project utilizes the similar technology they used with the AMF on NASA’s laboratory on ISS, which was proven to be efficient.
The current working version of the manufacturing station is Optimast™ boom manufacturing system. A number of similar systems can be joined together to produce large-scale commercial satellites. Not only as manufacturing plants, the Archinaut can also act as workshops to reassemble, repair and dump the spacial objects including telescopes. Made In Space assures lowering the manufacturing cost by a substantial ratio with the implementation of the same on the earth’s orbit itself.
What in future?
The company has clear vision to move forth by making more plants and providing more facilities for space tech manufacturing. These units are expected to achieve the manufacturing capability of making large space stations for interplanetary transits and even interstellar exploration in future. The governments will no longer have to build satellites on the earth and send the parts to orbit for further assembling.
Even though the company is already funded by the federal government as well as from research and development partnerships, many investors are queued up to invest in the company, by investing the trust on the growth of space technology these days. Many companies including SpaceX have reached afar from single past decade. So, it is undoubted that the new attempt from Made In Space is a crucial leap towards the future of technology.
Here is the official video of Archinaut published by the company.
The company officials also mentioned the easiness in manufacturing and launching big satellites from the space itself.