NASA Announces Collaborations to Advance 3D Printing Technologies for Space Exploration
In only four years, NASA astronauts are expected to land on the Moon as part of the space agency’s ambitious Artemis program that will use innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. In the 18 months since NASA accepted the bold challenge to accelerate its sustainable exploration plans, the agency has continued to gain momentum toward sending humans to the Moon again, and for the first time since the last Apollo lunar mission in 1972. Now, it has selected 17 U.S. companies to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond.
Five out of the 20 partnerships will seek to advance additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, materials, and processes to accelerate the development of emerging space capabilities. Among them, a 3D printing system for the Artemis lunar exploration program; better engine designs through metal AM; advanced large-scale directed energy deposition (DED) of high-strength aluminum alloys for complex rocket components, and more.
The collaborative project selections are part of NASA’s STMD’s Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO). A solicitation for innovations that help reduce the development costs of space technologies and accelerate the infusion of emerging commercial capabilities into future missions. The selected projects will be governed by unfunded Space Act Agreements between the companies and NASA. In fact, to support the agreements, the businesses will gain access to NASA resources, like expertise and testing facilities, that carry an estimated value of $15.5 million.
Various NASA centers will work with the selected companies, which range from small businesses to large aerospace corporations, and even a previous NASA challenge winner, to provide expertise and access to the agency’s unique testing facilities. Here are the selected companies that will use 3D printing technology as the basis of their projects:
These partnerships complement NASA’s Artemis program and help prepare the agency for its future exploration endeavors. With these agreements and NASA’s 2020 Tipping Point partnerships, STMD is slated to support the technology developments needed to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon and for future crewed missions to Mars. By promoting and facilitating the use of space through innovative technical goals, like these, exploration beyond Earth’s atmosphere can become a tangible reality for many countries and private companies and will help humanity achieve its most ambitious space exploration challenges.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
November 30, 2020 at 08:02AM