The Zero-G Printer is the first 3D printer designed to operate in zero gravity. Launched into orbit on September 21, 2014, the printer was built under a joint partnership between NASA MSFC and Made In Space. Contracted as the “3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment,” this first version of the Zero-G printer has ushered in the era of off-world manufacturing.

This initial version of the Zero-G Printer is serving as a test bed for understanding the long-term effects of microgravity on 3D printing, and how it can enable the future of space exploration. It is a culmination of contracts and development dating back to 2010 including microgravity tests with NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, R&D contracts under NASA’s SBIR Programs, and development contracts with NASA MSFC.

Key Technologies

  1. Environmental Control
  2. The ability for the printer to filter toxic gases and nanoparticles was one of the most important technical challenges for operation approval aboard the ISS

  3. Remote Operation
  4. Due to the high cost of crew time, nearly every step of the printing process is remotely controlled.

  5. Rugged, Mission Critical Design
  6. The printer needed to withstand the rigors of a rocket launch yet still be consistent and accurate once it arrived.

More Information

Timeline Infographic

System Specifications

Attribute Value
Material ABS
Resolution 0.2 mm
Filament Diameter 1.7 mm
Spool Weight 1 lb
Print Volume 10cm long x 5 cm wide x 5cm tall
3D Printer Box 33cm long x 24cm wide x 29.5cm tall
Electronics Box 27cm long x 18.5cm wide x 7cm tall

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