It’s been a bit of a wild ride for Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions this past week, but things seems to be on the upswing now. Late last week, Sputnik News reported that the first 3D bioprinter bound for space was destroyed after the Soyuz spacecraft it was cargo on crashed during a liftoff malfunction. In the aftermath of the disappointing crash, 3D Bioprinting Solutions says it is now preparing to send a duplicate machine to the ISS.
The 3D bioprinter in question is the Organ.Aut, a custom built machine for bioprinting structures aboard the ISS. The original machine, which was set to be the first bioprinter in space, was going to be used to print human tissue in space and even eventually be used for organ printing.
The significant setback occurred this past Thursday, when the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle carrying the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft the bioprinter was on suffered a malfunction. Fortunately, the two ISS crew members onboard the spacecraft—Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague—were not harmed in the accident, and returned to earth in an escape capsule.
But the fate of the Organ.Aut was not so lucky. The bioprinter, which was enclosed in the spacecraft’s habitation module, was completely destroyed. Luckily, there is already a plan B that is being put into motion.
A more recent update from 3D Bioprinting Solutions has stated that a duplicate model of the bioprinter is being prepped to deploy to the ISS in the near future. As the crew board the ISS is being trained to use the machine remotely, the bioprinter will be sent into space as soon as possible.
The Organ.Aut bioprinter will eventually join Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) aboard the ISS, which was sent into space two years ago. The AMF is the second generation 3D printer to be sent into space by Made In Space. Other companies and organizations are also working on other space-friendly 3D printing technologies.
We’ll be keeping an eye on when a new launch date is set for the Organ.Aut and, of course, on what ISS astronauts will be bioprinting in the future.