3D Printing In Space: 21st Century Space Manufacturing and Technology
The rise of 3D printing technology is not confined to Earth. Private companies, NASA and other groups are quickly developing new concepts to launch 3D printing into the final frontier. See the latest news, videos and photos of 3D printing in space here.
For the first time, cardiac and vascular structures were 3D printed in a microgravity environment using adult human stem cells. Three companies led by NASA contractor Techshot Inc. developed a "space hardened 3D bioprinter" prototype.
The Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), which was installed aboard the International Space Station in late April, printed out its first tool last week — a wrench that astronauts can use to perform light maintenance work.
California-based company Made In Space is investigating how to turn asteroids into giant autonomous spacecraft, as part of a long-term plan to enable space colonization by helping make off-Earth manufacturing economically viable.
A robotic rover named Helelani assembled the pad on Hawaii's Big Island late last year, putting together 100 pavers made of locally available material in an effort to prove out technology that could do similar work in space.