The “new space” industry is a hotbed for innovation. A lot of venture capital is being poured into companies promising to reach for the stars and open the doors to the new frontier of exploration, and market opportunities. 3D printing is the slogan behind many of these endeavors, and for good reason. Setting up shop in space one needs to take into account the many limitations therein. The price per Kg to launch stuff to space is in the thousands, but it’s being reduced by lighter crafts (thanks 3D printing!) and reusable rockets. At this point, one can imagine that exploiting local resources must be a top priority. In-situ resource utilization is the best hope for self-supporting habitats from the Moon to Mars and beyond, and NASA has been hosting design competitions based on 3D printing to make these concepts a reality. The industry has been gathering funds for years now and is starting to see real traction with companies signing multi-year contracts with satellite companies, complete rocket re-design and more. It’s a great time to be alive for space nerds!
ESA’s New 3D Printer Will Defy Build Volume Restraints As Well As Gravity
In January 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) and German technology group OHB SE launched a consortium to develop a large-scale 3D printer for use in zero-gravity conditions. […] One of the biggest revelations is that the 3D printer in development will reportedly be able to produce objects larger than itself – unconstrained by the size of the print bed.
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NASA Announces $100,000 Winners of Virtual 3D-Printed Mars Habitats
NASA picked three teams to share a $100,000 prize from a competition to make virtual Martian habitats. The 11 participating groups were tasked with making a full-scale habitat using modeling software, building on an earlier stage of the competition that required partial virtual modeling. The teams were graded on their layout, programming, use of interior space, and their habitat’s ability to be scaled to full size for construction, according to a NASA statement announcing the winners.
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Relativity, the 3D-printed-rocket manufacturer, inks a multi-year contract with Telesat
Relativity, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of 3D-printed rockets, has signed its first public commercial contract with Telesat, the longtime vendor of satellite services for telecommunications and business information. The deal marks the first agreement between a major satellite operator and an entirely venture-backed company in the “New Space” industry and is a huge win for Relativity’s low-cost rocket manufacturing platform.
Read the rest of the article at Techcrunch.
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