NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award Amount: $125,000
Flat Fabrication of Progressively Self-Assembling Space Systems
Davide Guzzetti Auburn University
This project aims to study the feasibility of integrating an array of microchips with space satellite functions, or ChipSats, on a multifunctional shape memory polymer (SMP) bus that is capable of self-folding when exposed to solar radiation.
This technology may enable the flat fabrication of kilometer-sized antenna arrays for radio astronomy that self-transform into the operative configuration once in orbit.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Removing the force of gravity from development processes can lead to products that are higher quality, have fewer defects, and are more effective than when developed on Earth. Companies are demonstrating these improved results can be achieved in the unique microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits about 250 miles above the planet.
The research opportunities that have demonstrated the unique market value of in-space manufacturing, technology advancement and drug development have come through NASA’s investment in dedicating transportation and research time for ISS National Lab investigations.
Gradel MD, Claude Maack, on the future of ultra-lightweight construction for space.
Gradel has worked in the nuclear industry for 50 years and for the last decade the company has also been involved in the space industry, constructing highest end mechanical ground support equipment.
In the last year and a half Gradel has been working with the German company, AMC. They’re specialists in ultra-lightweight construction and collaborate with Gradel to develop ultra-lightweight materials for the space market.
NASA is continuing to encourage the use of 3-D manufacturing technologies for use on Earth and in space through the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
In addition to funding two projects by Made in Space focused on glass alloys and structures for advanced interferometery missions, the space agency also selected six other additive manufacturing proposals for funding under SBIR Phase II.
The awards, which are worth up to $750,000 for as long as two years, are focused on expanding additive manufacturing (AM) to include the use of stronger plastics and metals as well plastics recycling and improving production on Earth. One company is developing the ability to print next-generation electronics aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Several of the proposals are developing materials and technologies that would be used in a new additive manufacturing system called FabLab that NASA will launch to the station. The new printer would use multiple materials instead of just plastic feed stock to print parts and tools.
Made in Space will continue to pursue the development of advanced glass alloys and 3-D manufactured structures for space interferometry missions under a pair of contract awards from NASA.
The space agency selected the additive-manufacturing company for awards under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The contracts are worth a maximum of $750,000 apiece for up to two years.
“The next step in the industrialization of LEO is the formulation of base materials, such as specialty glasses, that can be refined into higher value products in microgravity,” the company said in a summary of its proposal. “The Glass Alloy Manufacturing Machine (GAMMA) is an experimental system designed to investigate how these materials form without the effects of gravity-induced flows and inform process improvements for commercial product development.”
MOFFETT FIELD, CA, March 12, 2019 (Made in Space PR) — As part of a NASA Tipping Point contract, Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) has reached a significant milestone for their Archinaut program by successfully demonstrating its additive manufacturing and robotic assembly capabilities in a space-like environment.
LEXINGTON, Ken., November 15, 2018 (Space Tango PR) – Space Tango, a leader in the commercialization of space through R&D, bioengineering and manufacturing in microgravity, today announced ST-42, a fully autonomous robotic orbital platform designed specifically for scalable manufacturing in space.
MoU covers the companies’ agreement to collaborate on In-Space manufacturing technology
Luxembourg/ Bremen (G), 15 October 2018 (Kleos Space PR) — Luxembourg-based and ASX listed Kleos Space S.A. (ASX:KSS), state-of-the-art space technology operator, today announces the signature of a second Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus Defence and Space, as both companies investigate opportunities to collaborate for the manufacture In-Space of structural elements.
Kleos Space and parent Magna Parva (UK) have developed an In-Space manufacturing system that will provide a method of producing huge carbon composite 3D structures in space.
ORANGE COUNTY, California (SpaceFab PR) — SpaceFab.US is a new space startup company working on space telescope satellites, asteroid mining, and space manufacturing. The company, also known as SpaceFab, is designing and building its first space telescope, scheduled for launch in late 2019. The satellite, called the Waypoint space telescope, will be available to the general public to take astronomical or Earth observation pictures, making it the world’s first dual purpose commercial space telescope. It can be used for astronomy when orbiting over the night side of Earth, and used for Earth observation when orbiting over the daylight side, about 40 to 50 minutes on each side.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NASA PR) — Archinaut, a NASA Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) project developing cutting-edge technology to build and assemble complex hardware and supersized structures on demand in space, achieved an unprecedented milestone this summer.
“To our knowledge, this is the first time additive manufacturing has been successfully tested on such a large scale in the vacuum and temperature conditions of space,” said Eric Joyce, Archinaut project manager for Made In Space Inc. of Mountain View, California, which spearheads the project for NASA.