Aug 29, 2017 | By Tess

NASA has announced the winner of Phase 2: Level 3 of its 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, a multi-phase competition which is seeking to find new and innovative methods for building 3D printed habitats and livable structures in space.

First prize went to Team Foster + Partners | Branch Technology from Chattanooga, Tennessee, which received a cash prize of $250,000 for its submission. Foster + Partners, a UK-based architecture firm, has been working closely with Chattanooga startup Branch Technology to make 3D printed construction a reality.

Members of Team  Foster + Partners | Branch Technology​ stand with their winning 3D printed dome structure

Some readers might recall Branch Technology for its Freeform Home Design Challenge, which asked architecture firms and designers to pitch their ideas for a 3D printed home.

In the context of NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, Team Foster + Partners | Branch Technology has been performing quite well, as this is not the first time it has won an award. In May, the group was awarded $85,930 and was the top-scoring team of the Phase 2: Level 1 Compression Test Competition.

Even more recently, Team Foster + Partners | Branch Technology won third place (and  $63,783) for Phase 2: Level 2. South Korean startup Moon X Construction was awarded first prize for Level 2.

From August 23 to 26, NASA hosted a number of challenge activities for its Phase 2: Level 3 competition at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Edwards, Illinois. On the last day, winners were announced and presented with their prize money by Jim Reuter, the deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

"The advancement and innovation in additive construction that we've seen from these teams is inspiring," commented Reuter. "Meeting the technology goals of this challenge proves that competition can push boundaries, and their work puts us that much closer to preparing the way for deep space exploration."

The Penn State team with their 2nd place 3D printed dome structure

Pennsylvania State University of University Park was given second place at the event for its 3D printed dome structure, which came with a prize of $150,000. Throughout the whole competition, NASA will be giving out a total of $2.5 million in prizes.

Through its competition, NASA has invited companies and research organizations to develop structurally sound 3D printed habitats which would be implemented both in space and as affordable housing here on earth. In addition to the habitats themselves, participants are also tasked with developing their own 3D printing systems and materials.

We’ve seen participants 3D print all sort of building structures, such as beams, cylinders, domes, and put them through intensive physical tests and analyses. The winners are determined based on these tests and how well their 3D printed components and technologies score.

Phase 2 of the three-phase challenge has been centered on finding solutions for manufacturing structural components from a mix of both local (indigenous) materials and recyclable materials. Phase 2 launched in October 2016.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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