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Archinaut, a 3D Printing Robot to Make Big Structures in Space – Singularity Hub

by • March 1, 2016 • No Comments

By ON Mar 02, 2016| 3D Printing, Featured, Tech 772 1 LoadingLoading

Historically, the just way to get anything into orbit has been by rocket; a system that is massively expensive, cumbera few, and presents a slew of constraints.
So, when Made In Space created the firstly zero-gravity 3D printing device, it was understandably a big deal. For the firstly time, astronauts mayn’t have to wait for the upcoming commence of planet Earth for all things they requireed—instead, they may take electronic delivery of a desktop file and manufacture tools, like this 3D printed ratchet.
3D-printed version of Archinaut
The company plans to send up a full-time, working successor to their prototype this year, but their small-scale printing device is a stepping-stone to a thing bigger—Archinaut, the company’s new project to create large-scale structures in space.
Awarded this past November through NASA’s Tipping Point Technologies Solicitation, Archinaut is a private-public partnership funded by a two-year $20 million contract of NASA. Made In Space is partnering with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems to create a combination 3D printing device and robotic arm that can operate in orbit outside the International Space Station.
Simply? It’s a robot that lives in space.
The robot’s body is a 3D printing device that manufactures parts of a digital create, that can be actually larger than the printing device itself. A robotic arm attached to the printing device can piece these homegrown parts together with other pre-fabricated parts into a larger structure. No human required.
The first phase of the project can wrap up in 2018 when Archinaut can demonstrate the ability to 3D print and assemble structures in orbit. If all goes to plan, the team hopes to scale the printing device up and add additional robotic arms.
And that is when the fun begins. The in-orbit making Archinaut promises may liberate missions of the typical constraints of commence.
Today, structures destined for orbit require to withstand planet Earth gravity, be folded up as cargo, withstand the rigors of commence, and survive space’s complex environment. With Archinaut, engineers may create and create for space—and just space. Instead of sending up fish structures, we can commence key components such as sensors, electronics, and batteries along with raw materials to print the big stuff.
If we are settling the final frontier, Rush says, “SpaceX is createing the covered wagon, we are createing the pickaxes, and Archinaut is one of those tools.”
The implications are massive. Large orbital structures may include spacecraft, satellites, or other research and telecommunications infrastructure.
Andrew Rush (left) and Steve Jurcyk (right).Andrew Rush (left) and Steve Jurcyk (right).
Andrew Rush (left) and Steve Jurcyk (right).
Steve Jurcyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, suggests they’d like to manufacture a 15-meter telescope to image exoplanets. And Rush says Mars is on their mind too.
“Eventually, Archinaut may potentially create and integrate a reflector for telecommunication satellites to beam signals back and forth, or it can add structures to a next human space vehicle, such as a Mars transit vehicle.”
As one of three proposals selected by NASA to advance in-orbit making, Jurcyk says they hope not just to advance human and robot space exploration, but to in addition enable new capabilities for US commercial activity in space.
There are yet technical challenges ahead. But if successful, it’ll be another significant step to a additional permanent human presence in space.
Made In Space's Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), soon to be commenceed to the ISS as a permanent making facility.Made In Space's Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), soon to be commenceed to the ISS as a permanent making facility.
Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), soon to be commenceed to the ISS as a permanent making facility.
Made In Space has created a few amazing strides over the last few years, of getting their 3D printing device onto the ISS to printing the firstly off-planet manufactured tool.
In May, CTO of Made In Space, Jason Dunn, can be discussing the next of space making at Singularity University’s inaugural Exponential Manufacturing Conference.
Image credit: Made In Space; Jonathan Lee/Singularity University
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Alison E. Berman
Staff Writer at Singularity University
Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by different types of intersections of innovation and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you’ll most likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).Alison E. BermanAlison E. Berman

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Archinaut, a 3D Printing Robot to Make Big Structures in Space – March 2, 2016Five Startups to Watch From Singularity University’s 2015 Global Solutions Program – February 11, 2016Inside SU’s First Salon: Lab-Grown Organs, Cybersecurity, and AI Music Apps – February 10, 2016

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Discussion—One Response

DSM·March 2, 2016 on 1:13 pm

The require a small in size CT scanner with a few AI attached to check that all their 3D printed parts are up to spec and safe to use, and so they are great to go.Log in to Reply

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