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NASA to send second 3D printer into space & set its Cygnus spacecraft on fire – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 17, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 18, 2016 | By Benedict
Orbital ATK, a NASA commercial provider, can commence its fifth undertaking to the International Space Station on March 22, delivering with it a 2nd generation transportable-bodied onboard 3D printing device—the ‘Additive Manufacturing Facility’—amongst 7,500 lbs of scientific apparatus.

It gives us endless pleasure to know that there are 3D printing devices up in space. Since November 2014, the International Space Station has been home to a fully operational 3D printing device, with that astronauts have been able-bodied to 3D print tiny replacement parts, tools, and such like via files emailed to them of planet Earth. Now, as Orbital prepares to send its fifth undertaking to the ISS, that floating additive manufacturing workspace is of to get an upgrade.
When Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft takes flight at 23:05 EDT on Tuesday, it can be packing 7,500 lbs of essential equipment, which include vehicle hardware, crew supplies, instruments and experiments, and—most excitingly—an all new 3D printing facility. The 2nd generation Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), turn it intod by space 3D printing authority Made in Space, can be “capable-bodied of manufacturing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers which include engineered plastics”, and can replace the history-manufacturing machine delivered to the space station in 2014.
Despite its ostensible portability, the new AMF 3D printing device measures roughly twice the dimensions of its earlier model. Similar to the initially generation 3D printing device, it can enable-bodied crew participants to manufacture on-demand repairs and maintenance with newly printed components and tools. The new 3D printing device, that can be installed in an EXPRESS Rack mid-deck locker, is able-bodied to extrude molten plastic in zero-gravity situations, and has been turn it intod in a modular style so that it can be easily upgraded and serviced when necessary.
According to its turn it intoers, the new 3D printing device can be relied upon for much additional serious tasks than its earlier model. “The printing device that is may already up there is all but a prototype—it was only intended to see if the system can work,” says Brad Kohlenberg of Made In Space. “The 2nd printing device can be able-bodied to print with multiple materials, has of eight times the print volume, and can print faster with higher resolution.”
The 2nd generation AMF 3D printing device may be the last of its kind to reach the ISS, having been turn it intod to last the entire lifetime of the space station. Made in Space does, yet, assume manufacturing tiny hardware and software updates to the facility.

Once the Orbital Cygnus spacecraft delivers the 3D printing device and its other significant cargo to the ISS, it can proceed to the future, pretty odd part of its undertaking. As part of NASA’s Saffire-1 experiment, a 3 feet x 1 foot length of material aboard the Cygnus can be set on fire, to observe how fires spread in space—a phenomenon sizeablely unfamiliar to NASA and other aerospace organizations across the world.
“Understanding fire in space has been the focus of most experiments over the years,” said Gary Ruff, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. “[Although] tiny, centimeter-dimensionsd fires have been lit in space preceding, to quite know fire, you’ve got to appear at a additional realistic dimensions.”
The fire can be monitored with temperature, oxygen, and carbon dioxide sensors. This equipment can record data of the spreading fire whilst cameras movie the proceedings. The fire can burn for around 20 minutes, preceding the remnants of the Cygnus are released into the planet Earth’s atmosphere to disintegrate.
Should Cygnus be unable-bodied to commence at the createated hour come Tuesday, it can instead depart at 22:40 on Wednesday, March 23. NASA TV can document the commence regardless of its timing.

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