NASA sends first 3D printer to space
3D printing has become very popular now that it is being sent to the International Space Station to help astronauts.
Unlike destinations on earth, Astronauts on the space are literally stranded as they don’t have a source of the goods they need if they run out of spare parts, etc. With the 3D printer, NASA hopes that the astronauts will be able to print spare parts and the like on their own when a need arises in the future.
NASA Senior Technologist Jeff Sheehy said, “If we’re really going to set up shop on Mars. We really can’t afford to bring everything we need for an indefinite amount of time. We’ll need to get to the point where we can make things that we need as we go.”
The 3D printer was made by a Northern California based company named Made in Space and is sent to the Space Station in a SpaceX Dragon capsule weighing almost 5000 pounds with other things in it in addition to the printer. The printer is a foot tall, 9 ½ inches wide and 14 ½ inches deep. Although it was scheduled to lift off on Saturday, dense rain clouds prevented the launch and it was postponed to Sunday.
The company has also exhibited the objects printed by its 3D printer at the Kennedy Space Center. Among the exhibits was a model of the air filter previously designed by astronauts to survive the moon mission in 1970 which was later cancelled. The company took five hours to print the model in its lab. With the printer, the company has also won a huge project from NASA to supply other gods for US astronauts for use in the space station.
Another Falcon 9 rocket with an unmanned dragon was also sent to the space station mid-day Sunday.