One of the trendiest technological advances of today is 3D printing, and now, it's being applied in space.Made In Space is developing a way to assemble spacecraft in space.
Made In Space is the original company that first invented the 3D printer in collaboration with NASA, and their collaboration is now extending to this new, unprecedentedly ambitious project to actually build spacecraft while in space.The 3D printer was initially built on the International Space Station, but the new project is called Archinaut, combining the terms architect and astronaut.
Archinaut aims to revolutionize the industry by outfitting a spacecraft with a 3D printer as well as robotic arms that can autonomously build satellites and a myriad of other constructs while in orbit.Resultant spacecraft have the advantage of not needing to first be folded on Earth prior to deployment, and they don't need to be engineered for surviving the launch from Earth either for that matter.
This means that these will be the first truly "space-optimized" spacecraft, which bears exciting implications for the production of parts that can be used to upgrade satellites already in orbit.On the Made In Space website, they company has said, "Archinaut enables fundamentally new spacecraft designs and reduces the costs associated with qualifying a satellite for launch.The synergy of its manufacturing and assembly capabilities are critical to constructing entire spacecraft on orbit."
Credit: Made in Space