A 3D startup company that has been operating 3D polymer printers on the International Space Station, is developing tools for on-orbit metal manufacturing that could be ready for launch in 2018, according to a report by SpaceNews.com.
“Our broad objective at Made In Space is to bring as many manufacturing technologies to bear in space in order to enable better crewed and robotic missions,” says Andrew Rush, president and chief executive of Made in Space, Moffett Field, CA. “We can do a lot with polymers, but just like we experience in our daily lives, we need a whole suite of manufacturing techniques to produce useful objects.”
Made in Space earlier this year won a NASA small business innovative research grant for its Vulcan Advanced Hybrid Manufacturing System, which is designed to produce high-strength, high-precision polymer and metallic components with quality comparable to parts machined on the ground. Vulcan combines additive and subtractive manufacturing to produce finished parts.