3D / Additive Manufacture in Space! Two favorites in one!
And its an SBIR…Small Business Innovative Research, program, how cool is that on top? The SBIR program is a personal favorite of mine. It basically provides entrepreneurs and engineers with ideas with funds to develop a concept and put together a prototype then helps them either commercialize it or work with a big company to bring to the market or to NASA, USAF, Navy, Army, DoE, DoT, DHS etc. When done right which NASA, the Navy and to some extent the AirForce and Army have done this can provide fantastic bang for the buck. Its only downside is that it can be seen as a substitute for bigger development programs and it’s not. SBIR works for initial concepts, for components, basic materials, small-scale projects (App scale maybe) but it’s not enough bucks to do anything major. The only program that does something similar on a larger scale is DARPA, which is also a world leading organization in this area.
On Thursday, NASA announced the selection of 39 proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. …… Made in Space, a Silicon Valley company working on 3-D manufacturing in space.
Made in Space, Inc.
Moffett Field, CA
PROPOSAL TITLE: ISS Additive Manufacturing Facility for On-Demand Fabrication in Space
SUBTOPIC TITLE: ISS Utilization
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Begin: 6 End: 8
Made in Space has completed a preliminary design review of the Additive Manufacturing Facility. During the first half of Phase 1, the design went through conceptual development, simulation testing, cost analysis, and comparison testing of which off-the-shelf parts can be used. The deliverables for Phase I include a written report detailing evidence of demonstrated technology (TRL 5) in the laboratory and will outline in detail the path taken toward hardware demonstration for Phase II (TRL 6). The preliminary design is ready to be manufactured as an engineering test unit in Phase II. A feasibility study was created to demonstrate what could be fabricated for the inside of the ISS (parts and spares) and for the outside (possible satellites). It is anticipated that many of the sample uses that the AMF will make possible on-orbit have not yet been envisioned.