May 16, 2017 | By Tess

Made In Space, the Silicon Valley startup that helped deploy the first 3D printer in space, has released two new videos that demonstrate how its additive manufacturing Archinaut system will work. The project, which has been in development for some time now (we wrote about its 3D printing capabilities last year), is aimed at making in-space construction and maintenance possible with the help of 3D printing.

Archinaut, which has garnered interest from NASA and other space exploration companies, is a spacecraft system that integrates a 3D printer and flexible robotic arms that are capable of not only building in space, but also of repairing existing space structures, such as satellites.

The new videos released by Made in Space show two different configurations of the Archinaut system: the Archinaut Dilo and the Archinaut Ulisses. The Dilo system is capable of transforming a satellite into a large reflector dish by using its robotic arms to place expandable reflector panels around the satellite. Using its 3D printing component, the Archinaut system can then secure the panels to the satellite before unfolding them into a dish.

The Archinaut Ulisses, for its part, is designed to 3D print and assemble structural components in zero-gravity space environments. As the video shows, the Archinaut uses its built-in 3D printer to manufacture the structural components using raw materials stored in a satellite’s toolbox. Once the components have been 3D printed, the system’s three precision robotic arms can assemble them into structures of “indefinite size.”

Obviously, having the ability to remotely construct structures and satellite dishes in space without having to ship large components from Earth would be a huge benefit for space exploration agencies. Not only would the Archinaut system enable larger structures to be made, but as Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush explained to Space.com, it would also enable the construction of “space-optimized” structures, rather than builds that are designed to survive launch conditions.

Currently, Made In Space is focusing on developing manufacturing methods for extended structures in space. For this phase of the project, the startup is working closely with NASA’s Ames Research Center, where it is testing its developments. Once this step is complete, the team will move on to integrating the Archinaut’s robotic arms. This first phase of the project is expected to last 18 months.

Made In Space says it is planning to launch an Archinaut demonstration mission to orbit Earth as soon as 2018. For this mission, the Archinaut will be tasked with building and assembling a small structure, probably a few meters in length. Ultimately, however, Made In Space envisions the Archinaut building structures of 100 meters in size or more.

In addition to working with NASA, Made In Space has reportedly been in talks with a number of commercial and governmental groups that are interested in using its Archinaut technology down the line, though it has not explicitly named any of them.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

Maybe you also like:


   


Col.Panik wrote at 5/16/2017 9:49:11 PM:

The $20 million dollar MadeInSpace DILDO! What a great use of our tax dollars.



Leave a comment:

Your Name:

 


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now five years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive