Space Chronicles: 3-D Printing in Space

During my visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as a social media representative (aka “socialite”), I learned so much information that my brain felt like it would burst! (Well, no wonder, I was just coming from my software release, where I spent way too many hours in front of my laptop, so technically, my brain was already mush.) But I had the best time of my life, this was an experience in the top three! I was certainly in my element, around a bunch of space junkies, communication geeks, photographers, designers, and writers, my kind of peeps.

We all got to participate in NASA TV broadcasts, where the engineers, scientists, program managers, directors, etc. talked about the various research experiments that would take place on the International Space Station once SpaceX’s Dragon was attached. Out of all the experiments, the 3-D printing caught my attention the most. (This is what has saved my hubby from setting up his 3-D printer on our dining room table, btw.) The ability to print parts in space on demand is just mind blowing! Even though 3-D printing has been tested on the “Vomit Comet” it needs to be tested in micro-gravity, which is ideal at the ISS, right? NASA partnered with a company, Made In Space, to build this particular 3-D printer. All of the little white pieces you see in the photos were parts printed with this printer. Just imagine, if we had this capability during the Apollo 13 spaceflight, what the astronauts could have made to resolve their issues! In the first photo, Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s 3D Printing in Zero-G Project Manager, gets ready for her talk with media and social media on NASA TV.

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