“I’d describe our prints last year as trailblazers, since they were all made in orbit for the first time and we were exploring how best to utilize AMF,” said Matt Napoli, MIS vice president of In-Space Operations. “This year, we expect more advanced prints as we push the envelope of what’s possible with it. We’ve started to print in a new, space-suitable material in PEI/PC (polyetherimide/polycarbonate), giving us the capability to manufacture stronger, more heat-resistant structures.”
Made In Space is primarily concerned with how the unique traits of the space environment such as persistent microgravity and vacuum conditions can be harnessed to offer new commercial solutions. By manufacturing and assembling structures on orbit, rather than on the planet’s surface, we unlock incredible design possibilities for extending the life of current on-orbit assets or entirely new structures. By pulling fiber in microgravity, we address one of the most critical barriers to perfect ZBLAN on the surface–gravity-caused crystallization. By setting up a prototyping platform on the ISS National Lab, we give researchers the ability to prototype tools and designs in the environment of space with short iteration cycles.