Relativity Space to Develop Real-time Detection, Correction During 3D Printing

Relativity Space will work on developing a system capable of the real-time detection and correction of defects during 3D printing with the help of NASA funding.

NASA selected the project for an award under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The phase I award is worth up to $125,000 over six months.

“3D technologies such as automatic defect detection is a key enabler for 3D printing off planet, in line with NASA’s exploration goals. This, in turn, would yield benefits such as the capability for in-situ manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing from feedstock, manufacturing objects that cannot be launched from Earth, and/or the ability to design missions in novel ways to reduce cost,” the company said in its proposal summary.

The company, which is 3D printing its own launch vehicle, believes the new technology will allow the manufacturing of habitat components, re-entry heat shields and radiation shields on the Moon. 

“Across all industry (not just NASA), real-time defect detection would allow for an immediate response–such as rework to print, validation of acceptable performance with the defect, or scrapping of the part before a print is completed,” the summary said.

The proposal summary follows.

Relativity Space: 3D Printing the Future
Subtopic Title: Real Time Defect Detection, Identification and Correction in Wire-Feed Additive Manufacturing Processes

Relativity Space, Inc.
Inglewood, CA

Principal Investigator
Jordan Noone

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 6

Technical Abstract

Relativity Space Inc. proposes to integrate and mature its multi-dimension time series data collection capability; real-time processing elements; and closed feedback loops during a 6-month period of performance, to create real-time automatic defect detection and tagging in large-scale 3D printing applications.

Potential NASA Applications

3D technologies such as automatic defect detection is a key enabler for 3D printing off planet, in line with NASA’s exploration goals. This, in turn, would yield benefits such as the capability for in-situ manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing from feedstock, manufacturing objects that cannot be launched from Earth, and/or the ability to design missions in novel ways to reduce cost. For example, habitat components, re-entry heat shields, or radiation shields could be manufactured on the Moon. 

Potential Non-NASA Applications

Across all industry (not just NASA), real-time defect detection would allow for an immediate response–such as rework to print, validation of acceptable performance with the defect, or scrapping of the part before a print is completed.

Duration: 6 months