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3D printing in space takes off

The first useable part
has been 3D printed in space, after an additive manufacturing unit was delivered
to the International Space Station in September.

NBC reports that the
unit, earlier delivered on a SpaceX Dragon Cargo ship, was installed a week
ago, and has since printed out two samples before a useable first item.

“It’s not
only the first part printed in space, it’s really the first object truly
manufactured off planet Earth,” Aaron Kemmer, CEO of Made In Space, told NBC.

there was not an object before, we essentially ‘teleported’ an object by
sending the bits and having it made on the printer. It’s a big milestone, not
only for NASA and Made In Space, but for humanity as a whole.”

The part was an ABS plastic replacement
faceplate for the printer itself. This part will be sent back to Earth for
analysis, notes Gizmodo, and similar items will be created for comparison purposes at MIS’s Mountain View offices.

News of NASA’s aim of 3D printing in space was
reported in August last year. It aims to eventually be able to print its required replacement parts on

MIS made its first attempt at additive manufacturing
in space in 2011, but the low-gravity environment presented engineering challenges.

The firm was established in 2010 and calls
itself “The World’s First Additive Manufacturing For Space Company”.

Image: NASA/Made In Space

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