Made In Space has been selected to lead the next phase of NASA’s ongoing development of in-space manufacturing as part of the agency’s Archinaut project.
The NASA funded project will help develop the necessary technologies and subsystems to enable the first additive manufacturing, aggregation, and assembly of large and complex systems in space without any astronaut extravehicular activity.
As part of the project, Made In Space will team up with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems in order to leverage their unique expertise. It will lead the team, applying their established space-based additive manufacturing technology. Northrop Grumman will provide expertise in electronic interfaces and external thermal control analysis. Oceaneering Space Systems will design and build the manipulator arm.
“In addition to transforming the current state-of-the-art for space manufacturing, the development of the Archinaut capability will be a great opportunity for Made In Space to collaborate with established space companies which possess complimentary resources and proven expertise,” said Made In Space Co-Founder and Chief Engineer, Mike Snyder.
The full vision of Archinaut is to ensure that spacecraft can manufacture and assemble unlaunchable structures once on orbit, enabling new mission capabilities such as installing large antennas and base stations. The initial Archinaut Phase I program will perform a series of technology demonstrations in order to bring the final technical hurdles beyond the tipping point for commercial feasibility.
Archinaut follows Made in Space’s previous work with NASA in developing additive manufacturing for space, including the demonstrator, ‘3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment,’ currently deployed aboard ISS, and the commercially operated Additive Manufacturing Facility, which is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2016.
Image and content credits of Made In Space/NASA