California’s space technology company Made In Space is currently working on their second 3D printer for space – project name Archinaut. Together with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space System they want to create a device that is capable of creating different parts in space.
The 20 million Dollar project was funded by NASA as part of their Tipping Points campaign. The advantages that accrue with such a system are obvious: big bulky parts can be printed in space. As a consequence the whole transport will be compacter and thereby cheaper. Additionally, the space robot should get up to two extra robotic arms. With these arms it should be possible to work with additional parts.
If the project is successful in 2018, the involved companies want to create another prototype: The new space robot should have a larger capacity 3D printer and maybe even more robotic arms. But until now there is no concrete plan for an application in space. At least they hope that it is possible to recycle old satellites and remove or build new parts onto space stations or satellites.
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