April 29, 2016 Alison Mehesz

Additive Manufacturing Facility installed on ISS

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, LOW EARTH ORBIT- In an historic first, the first ever space-based commercial manufacturing facility was installed on the International Space Station on Wednesday morning.

“For us, this moment is exciting because we can say, ‘we’re open for business!’” said Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush. Teaming with both NASA and commercial companies, Made In Space developed the system, called the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), which uses advanced 3D printing technology specifically designed for the unique microgravity environment of the ISS. “This is a big moment for commercial space,” said Rush, “With AMF, for the first time customers and researchers can manufacture useful objects in space, rather than having to launch.”

This is one of the unique aspects of AMF. Often the ISS is used to host experiments designed to answer specific questions for NASA or a scientific funding organization. AMF, however, can be accessed by any Earthbound customer for job-specific work, like a machine shop in space. Example use cases include, a medical device company prototyping space optimized designs, or a satellite manufacturer testing new deployable geometries, or creating tools for ISS crew members. According to Matt Napoli, Vice President of In-Space Operations, AMF currently has about six-month of prints in the queue.

Additive manufacturing in microgravity, the key enabling technology of AMF, began its life through NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and is the second technological iteration of a 3D printing experiment that went to the ISS in 2014. “The NASA SBIR
program is essentially a government venture capitalist providing funding for small firms like us to turn a concept developed in our garage into a reality, in space!” Rush explains. Made In Space has also partnered with Lowe’s Innovation Labs (NYSE: LOW) and CASIS, which manages the ISS National Lab, to develop, launch, and spin up the facility installed today.

For business inquiries please contact Matthew Napoli at business@madeinspace.us
For press inquiries please contact Spencer Pitman at spencer@madeinspace.us

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