3D-Printed Material to Be Tested for Viability in Deep Space Exploration
A batch of 3D-printed experiments, created in Central Florida, have been delivered to the International Space Station to be tested for their viability in deep space exploration.
The 3D-printed components, created by L3 Harris, will be exposed to the extreme elements of space for six months to evaluate their performance and see if they are suitable for use on satellites and new space stations in the future.
The experiments not only test the 3D-printed material itself, but also include active circuits that will be periodically powered up to ensure performance does not change over time.
The testing of 3D-printed material and components is critical as private space stations are being built and the International Space Station is set to retire in eight years.
In addition to testing 3D-printed material from Earth, ongoing work is being done to use 3D printers in low Earth orbit and beyond.
The ability to have on-demand capabilities will become increasingly important as more companies build their own space stations and free-flying platforms.
While Relativity Space, which built a rocket mostly from 3D printing, has experienced two scrubbed launches, plans for private space stations continue to accelerate.
The impact of these small 3D-printed experiments on satellite and space station technology could be huge and could pave the way for deep space exploration.