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Applications for On-Orbit Additive Manufacturing, Finding Value in AM off the Earth's Surface

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In the space industry, much of the focus on additive manufacturing (AM) lies in the potential AM has in producing and qualifying space system parts on the ground. Though the value case of AM has been proven in ground-based applications, innovations in applications for AM technologies on-orbit have been investigated in several ongoing services on both the International Space Station as well as in the realm of free-flying spacecraft. This presentation will cover case studies for AM in two categories, AM in space for space, and AM in space for Earth. 

For AM in space for space, we will cover our work with our Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) on-orbit for repair and research applications including our Redwire Regolith Print investigation on printing regolith, our upcoming Vulcan Hybrid manufacturing facility and our Extended Structures Additive Manufacturing Machine (ESAMM) being used on our free-flying On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 2 (OSAM-2) mission. 

For AM in space for Earth, we will cover our Ceramic Manufacturing Machine (CMM), the first resin-based printer to operate on-orbit and its use in producing the next generation of ceramic turbines as well as the bioprinter which is fueling our research on printing organs in space. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify supply chain, part value, and unconventional AM case studies and classify their own use case.
  • Describe several uses for AM in space that differ from conventional ground use of AM.