Made in Space will fly the first 3D printer in space next year aboard a SpaceX Dragon freighter, which will deliver it for use by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, CTO Jason Dunn announced on Saturday.
Dunn told attendees at the Space Hacker Workshop in Mountain View, Calif., that this will be the first time that humans will conduct manufacturing operations off the Earth. The 3-D machine will allow astronauts to print parts and components on orbit instead of having to ship them up from Earth.
The company, which is based at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field, Calif., has been working for three years to perfect 3D printers capable of working in microgravity gravity. Dunn said the Made in Space has flown more than 400 microgravity parabolas to test out printers.
Made in Space was formed in 2010 by alumni of the Singularity University, which runs a summer program at NASA Ames in California.