The International Space Station has continued to be home to spacemen for over 19 years. Astronauts carry out scientific study utilizing several specialized types of equipment aboard the space station. They also offer them a place to sleep, exercise, relax, and eat.
Astronauts need over 7,000 pounds of extra parts annually to achieve their goals. Different 29,000 pounds of spaceflight hardware extras are kept aboard the location. Another 3,9000 on the earth all set to fly if required.
This logistics support mechanism does well for a satellite that is revolving 250 miles high Earth. They are also readily available to load resupply missions. It’s not possible for future purposes to the Mars and Moon. Astronauts on these extended voyages need to have the ability to create their spare pieces, materials, and tools on demand. This is both for everyday needs and adapts instantly to unpredictable things.
In-space manufacturing (ISM) believes utilizing 3D printing technology could be the solution. The ISM project at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and its commercial partners are utilizing the space site to try different technologies to offer this ability. The NASA Ames Research Center physics-based modeling group offers extra modeling support and analysis.
The first 3D printer was sent to the space station by the project in 2014. The printer was created by Made in Space. It utilized a filament fabrication (FFF) procedure to supply a constant thread of plastic.
This is via a burned extruder and onto a plate level by level by to make a 3-dimensional item. The additive manufacturing in Zero G examination generated several pieces. The researchers examined them and compared them to those created on the surface.
The analysis showed that microgravity did not have any engineering-significant effects on the procedure. This showed that a 3D printer operates as usually in space and giving the way to fresh logistics arrangements for extended missions.
“Our current hypothesis based on work so far is that this particular 3D printing process is not affected in a significant way by microgravity,” stated co-investigator Tracie Prater, a materials engineer at MSFC.
“There were some differences in the flight and ground specimen sets, which are likely attributable to the inherent variability in subsequent builds common with additive manufacturing processes.
As with any process, it is important to have good process control. The idea with the technology demonstration was to show that you can do this in microgravity, and the only way to test that was operating overtime on station.”
Made in Space went on to develop the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF). The facility can print utilizing different materials. This includes engineered plastics. Another second investigation, AMF-ABS Design Values, designed pieces with this printer on the space station. This was for comparing with those created on the surface.
“We printed a number of specimens and are in the process of writing the analysis,” Prater stated.
“We took a different testing approach, looking at the effect of filament layup on properties and consistency of the part. One challenge is that there really are not firm standards for how to test 3D printed materials, but various organizations, including NASA, are working on test procedures.” Prater added.